"Today, the (medical) examinations are clear and the doctors are agreed that my elbow is too damaged for me to be able continuing with my passion and my job at a high level," Henin said in a letter published by Le Soir from her internet site.
Henin, 28, first laid down her racket in May 2008 having won seven Grand Slam singles titles, including four French Open titles, one Australian Open title, and two US Open titles.
On that occasion she said she simply wanted to step back from the professional game having spent 100 weeks as world number one, which was her ranking at the time she first hung up her racket.
Henin returned in Brisbane at the start of last year having rediscovered her appetite for the tour and reached the Australian Open final.
But this season has been a difficult experience as she lost at Melbourne in the third round to Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Entering 2011, Henin had not played a tournament since suffering a career-threatening right elbow injury when losing to Clijsters in the fourth round at Wimbledon in late June.
During the Hopman Cup, prior to Melbourne, Henin admitted there were times when she did not think she would be fit to play this year's Australian Open.