Cellphone addicts, take note: Excessive texting may cause ‘smartphone thumb’ | Health - Hindustan Times
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Cellphone addicts, take note: Excessive texting may cause ‘smartphone thumb’

Press Trust of India | By, Washington
May 30, 2017 01:41 PM IST

Smartphone thumb is a painful condition caused by repetitive movements of typing that may lead to arthritis in the thumb, say doctors.

Too much texting can give you “smartphone thumb” – a painful condition caused by repetitive movements of typing that may lead to arthritis in the thumb, doctors have warned.

The condition causes the tendon that bends and flexes the thumb to become inflamed.(Shutterstock)
The condition causes the tendon that bends and flexes the thumb to become inflamed.(Shutterstock)

The condition formally known as tendinitis was earlier only seen in factory workers. It causes the tendon that bends and flexes the thumb to become inflamed. More and more people are complaining about this type of pain in their thumb each year, according to doctors.

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“One of the hypotheses is that the joints get loose and lax, and because of that the bones move differently than they would in a normal situation,” said Kristin Zhao, from the Mayo Clinic in the US. Researchers have been studying “smartphone thumb” for the last seven years.

The condition formally known as tendinitis was earlier only seen in factory workers. (Shutterstock)
The condition formally known as tendinitis was earlier only seen in factory workers. (Shutterstock)

Zhao said the movements we require our thumbs to make as we hold our phones are awkward. “It’s also a movement that requires some force through the thumbs. It’s not just free movement in space,” she said.

Researchers began using a dynamic imaging technique in 2010 to watch the bones of a healthy patient move so they could document what is normal and compare it with what is not.

“Our hypothesis is that abnormal motion of bones in the thumb could be causing pain onset and eventual osteoarthritis,” Zhao was quoted as saying by the ‘CBS Minnesota’.

To prevent problems, start by giving your thumbs a break. Use your forefinger sometimes or use your voice to dictate a message. (Shutterstock)
To prevent problems, start by giving your thumbs a break. Use your forefinger sometimes or use your voice to dictate a message. (Shutterstock)

According to her, too much texting may lead to more cases of arthritis in the thumb. To prevent problems, start by giving your thumbs a break, doctors said. Mix up your method by using your forefinger or use your voice to dictate a message.

Perform daily stretching exercises with wrists and fingers may also help prevent the condition, doctors advised.

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