Move Smart with a Smartphone

There is no doubt that you are living in the age of technology and smartphones. You communicate with them, you take pictures, you listen to music, you watch videos, you travel. The wealth of information you can gather , is unlimited. A whole world in the palm of your hand. However, you would not expect that this gentle touch of the screen could cause problems to your body. As paradox as it sounds, thumb injury affects thousands of people each year. In fact, the number of … victims (!) continues to grow as modern man becomes increasingly dependent on this new technology. 

Causes 

   Although tendons and muscles that support thumb movement are very strong, they are not designed for vigorous repetitive activity in positions which are required for the use of mobile devices and smartphones. Experts assume that the thumb lacks the dexterity of the other four fingers and therefore has difficulty adapting to the high  speed of typing.

 Muscle fatigue, excessive strain and prolonged tension can lead to muscle and tendon pain and may also affect the flexibility of the thumb. 

Symptoms

  Symptoms may include:

  • Discomfort or pain in the wrist and thumb when flexing or moving to the little finger.
  • Blurred pain in the base of the thumb during bending and stretching, where the thumb meets the palm.
  • Weakness in the grip force.
  • Morning stiffness improved by movement.
  • Sometimes, simply holding the smartphone to your ear may put pressure on your hand, wrist and fingers, especially after a prolonged conversation.

  Over time, the repetitive usage  can cause painful tendonitis (tendon inflammation) and also lead to premature arthritis.

Reprogramming Instructions

  • Restrict the use of your mobile phone for texting, gaming, and Internet browsing. Whenever is possible, use a computer with a regular-sized keyboard or connect a larger keyboard to your smartphone.
  • Write short messages.
  • Avoid putting your phone in the palm and typing.
  • Stop and rest your hands if you feel discomfort.
  • Place your phone on a table and type with the index finger and not with your thumbs.
  • Use Bluetooth or a headset during your phone calls to minimize the stress in your hands.
  • Correct your posture and do not slouch over your phone.
  • Don't forget daily stretching exercises for your wrists and fingers in order to keep your tendons flexible.
  • Do strength training in order to make your muscles stronger.

And Remember:

As "smart" as a phone, don't let it handle you. You handle it!

 

Anastasios M. Margaritis
Occupational Health& Safety Specialist.
Bsc Physiotherapy & Sports Science.
Orthopaedic Manual Therapist.
Back Mechanic Specialist.


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