Mobile phones are amazing pieces of technology that allow us to access worldwide information at our fingertips. But have you ever considered the effect that your mobile device can have on your body? Excessive smartphone use can contribute to a range of painful joint issues. Because cell phones are such a commonly used tool in our lives, it is important to know the risks of your smartphone use.
Here are some conditions that may develop from persistent cellphone use:
Smartphone pinky became a viral concern on the internet when individuals noticed that their pinky finger formed an indentation from using it to support their phones while texting. Holding this position for extended periods of time can put a lot of pressure on the nerves in this finger causing numbness. However, it is not fully understood if smartphone pinky is a diagnosable condition and thus further research should be conducted.
Thumbs are not built to text and swipe all day. Texting thumb is an injury involving repetitive motion of the thumb that causes inflammation around the tendons in your thumb. This condition can lead to immobility and pain within your thumb
Carpal tunnel is caused by overstretching of the median nerve, running from the wrist to the fingers. Holding your hands in a texting position for a long time may
contribute to the pinching or overstretching of this nerve resulting in pain. However, some physicians believe texting is an unlikely cause for carpal tunnel.
Cubital tunnel, also referred to as smartphone elbow, is a condition that occurs when the elbow is very frequently bent beyond 90 degrees. Bending your elbow this much can put pressure on the ulnar nerve, extending down the inner arm past the elbow and to the fingers, resulting in uncomfortable numbness.
Text neck can occur when your neck is hunched over during texting for a long period of time. This position can cause strain on your neck as it is holding up your head, weighing 10-12 pounds. Text neck can cause painful neck stiffness, headaches, and poor posture.
While smartphones may be one of the most useful inventions of recent decades, they can negatively impact your wellbeing and health, causing joint pain in the hand, wrist, neck and even your fingers. If you are concerned about excessive device use and joint pain, make efforts to decrease screen time and set daily limits.
If you suffer from joint pain, the team at Hinsdale Orthopaedics can help. Our Munster Clinic offers world class orthopedic care in NW Indiana, striving to meet the needs of each and every patient. Our orthopedic surgeons are top-rated, board-certified and highly-specialized in sports medicine, joint replacement, spinal medicine and surgery of the hand, hip, knee, spine, shoulder, foot and ankle.
Author: Dr. Jason Shrouder-Henry MD is a fellowship-trained Orthopedic surgeon specializing in hand, wrist, and upper extremity in Munster, Indiana.