L.A. Hand Surgeon Blog

Smartphone Use Hand Injuries: Too Smart For Our Own Good?

Perhaps our smartphones are actually too smart for our own good. Our cell phones, now referred to as smartphones, are causing many of us to suffer from repetitive stress injuries. Repetitive stress injuries are exactly the way they sound – injuries resulting from repetitive motions that cause stress to a ligament, tendon, muscle, etc. In short, our smartphone usage is causing hand injuries – among other injuries too.

smartphone use hand injuriesThe fact that smartphones are causing injuries to our hands should be no surprise to anyone. This problem has occurred since the days of the BlackBerry phone, a once widely popular phone that was eventually topped by the iPhone and Android devices. However, during the time of the BlackBerry a famous name was born: “BlackBerry thumb”. You may have already guessed it but BlackBerry thumb originated because of the strain that was commonly associated with our thumbs after texting too much. Nowadays, people may refer to the same problem using different names: texting thumb, smartphone thumb, iPhone thumb, Android thumb, and so on.

A recent article reveals that tendonitis is most frequent in younger people, the same people who happen to make up a large majority of the “high-tech people”, according to a division leader for the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, David Ruch.

Stop and ask yourself: are you using your smartphone too much? Some of us have no choice as smartphones are beginning to play a major role in the world of business, but improper usage is actually the reason why people develop problems in their hands. “Hold your smartphone a little bit further away from your body”, suggests David Ruch.

How Do I Know I Have A Problem?

You won’t actually know you have a problem until you begin to feel the physical symptoms associated with the problem. The main symptom is generally a pain felt on the side of your wrist towards the thumb. If you find yourself experiencing slight numbness in the tips of your fingers – especially your thumb – then you may have already caused damage to your nerves. This doesn’t mean you should forego using a smartphone altogether, but rather limit your usage.

Quick tip: only go on your smartphone when you absolutely NEED to. We say this because a lot of us will impulsively check our phones even if we have not heard a ring, text tone, or vibration of any sort. The easiest way to limit usage is by stopping the impulsivity to check our phone every 2 minutes.

Texting thumb is technically referred to as De Quervain’s tendonitis and can be treated non-surgically by your Los Angeles hand surgeon through medication, lifestyle changes involving proper posture, and splints to limit movement.

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