President's Prescription: Texting Thumb - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

President's Prescription: Texting Thumb

Last year, a 17-year-old Wisconsin native won $50,000 and the title of the "Fastest Texter in America" for the second year in a row. But for some avid smartphone users, too much time scrolling and tapping may warrant a trip to the doctor.

This week Dr. Mitchell tells us how to avoid technology related hand injuries.

The ramifications of a sedentary lifestyle are numerous and well documented — obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes — all of these things occur because people spend too much time in front of the TV or video game console. Now there's a new addition to the list of problems caused by technology: texting thumb.

More than 95% of smartphone users send text messages on their devices, according to a study published this year by Arbitron Inc. Those who send more than 80 text messages a day run the highest risk of coming down with texting thumb.

Rapidly and frequently scrolling and tapping the thumb on a keypad can cause repetitive use injuries of the thumb joint or inflammation in the tendons, which is commonly called tendinitis.

Symptoms of texting thumb include:

  • Pain and tenderness at the base of the thumb
  • Difficulty with tasks like opening jars or turning a key in a lock
  • Loss of ability to open the thumb away from the hand

Although more serious cases may require physical therapy or surgery to allow the inflamed tendon to move more freely, the best thing to do is to allow your thumbs time to rest.

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