After last weeks post about Tech Neck, I decided to stick with the theme of technology-related injuries for today’s blog. Our thumbs are quite busy in this day and age; did you know that billions of text messages are exchanged every single day? The text message has almost replaced the voicemail and some people talk to others more through text messages than with their own voice. On top of smartphone usage, the average person that is 13 years old or older plays video games around 6.5 hours per week. That sure is a lot of work on the thumbs. Just like everything else in this world, too much of anything is…….. you guessed it, a bad thing. The thumb was not designed for the repetitive movements involved in texting and gaming and when it is overworked, it will eventually fight back.
Texting Thumb or ‘blackberry thumb’ (officially: De Quervain’s tenosynovitis) is a condition that happens when the tendons of the thumb become inflamed due to repetitive overuse and it can be quite painful. If you are finding yourself with sore thumbs or wrists at the end of the day, try to make some changes to the way you are using your devices. One of the biggest things you can do for your thumb is to stop texting with it. Just hold your phone with one hand and use your pointer finger to type. You could also go the Siri route and just speak all of your messages to your phone. If you just simply can’t imagine life that way, try switching hands or taking breaks when you are using your phone a lot. The main goal when avoiding Texting Thumb is stopping the repetitive motions that cause it. By switching methods of typing, switching hands or taking breaks, you can avoid the painful irritation of the tendons of the thumb.
If you do find yourself dealing with the pains of Texting Thumb, there are some stretches and exercises that you can do to try and alleviate the discomfort. Generally, stretching out the thumb joints often is a good start, but here are some other tips you can use to help with the pain:
- Tap your thumb to the tip of each of your fingers on the same hand, repeating five taps on each finger
- Pull your thumb gently downward (so your thumb and forefinger look like an “L”) with your opposite hand, holding the stretch for 10 seconds
- Hold your hand out, palm facing down. Spread your fingers as far as you can, holding the stretch for 10 seconds
- Massage the thumb web of your hand
- Wrap a rubber band around the tips of your fingers and thumb, then open and close your hand 20 times
- Wrap a rubberband around your thumbs (face your palms down) and stretch it 20 times
If after utilizing these stretches, you are still feeling pain daily or the pain is getting worse, you may need to see a doctor about it. We would recommend coming in for an adjustment, the doctors can check for any misalignments and make sure there isn’t something else going on. Do yourself a favor and keep these tips in mind when you are using your electronic devices and you can save yourself some serious pain.