Smartphone Injury Symptoms & Treatment
Does playing on your smartphone cause you pain? Do your hands ache after playing with your portable handheld device? You may have texting thumb. With the prevalence of smartphones and mobile video games, more and more people report soreness in their thumbs, wrists and forearms. This overuse condition most commonly affects middle aged adults especially women who account for over 80% of cases. The three muscles responsible for extending your thumb to play with your smartphones have trigger points that are close in proximity to each other; their main referral pattern is pain and tenderness over the back of your wrist and thumb that radiates up your forearm.
The Texting Thumb Test
If you are unsure whether you have texting thumb, you may also perform the test below:
- Make a fist with the thumb inside the fingers
- Gently apply pressure to the fist so that your pinky moves closer to your wrist.
- If it reproduces the same pain while texting, you most likely have texting thumb. My patients also describe a squeaking sound or sensation during activities that use their thumbs such as hammering, typing, throwing, playing the piano and tennis. Other symptoms include weak grip or pinch strength and minor swelling at the base of the thumb of the affected hand.
Texting Thumb Treatment
A simple self-stretch can help you alleviate the symptoms.
1. Put your hand out as if you are about to make a handshake.
2. Bend your wrist away from your thumb like in the test mentioned above.
3. Use your other hand to passively flex your thumb down towards the ground.
If the stretch does not reduce the pain, please consult with one of our physiotherapists, chiropractors, or massage therapists for more information. Catching the signs of repetitive injuries early can greatly prevent the onset of chronic pain later!
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The author of this blog, Ryan Wong, works as a RMT in Absolute PhysioCare & Sports Rehab in Burnaby, BC since 2012. He’s very knowledgeable in multiple conditions and enjoys helping people lead happy and healthy lives.