Use Both Fingers For Typing
Most of us fall into the habit of typing exclusively with our dominant hand on our smartphone. This does not do any favors to the thumb of that hand, which often does most of the typing. The resulting thumb pain is known as texting thumb.
This condition can be avoided if you use both hands while typing. This way both your thumbs will be able to share in the task of typing. You can also switch to using a stylus and give your thumbs a rest.
Remember: Take Frequent Breaks
One of the most important things you can do when texting or typing is to take frequent breaks even if theyre just 20 seconds each for a quick stretch.
For every page you type, you could open and close your hands into gentle fists five times, which puts your fingers through the full range of motion and lubricates the joints, says Dorsey. Small things like that wont impact your productivity, and will probably make you more productive because you arent going to be limited by pain.
Being conscious of taking breaks is especially important when youre focused on a task, because it can be easy to forget to pay attention to your bodys signals.
Who Is At Risk For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
While anyone can get CTS, there are specific risk factors associated with the condition.
- Age: CTS is more common in adults over age 30 than other age groups.
- Anatomy: Some individuals are born with small carpal tunnels in their wrists, which can increase the chance of getting CTS.
- Sex: Women are much more likely to get CTS than men. Pregnancy can also be a risk factor for CTS, particularly in women who retain fluids.
- Career: People who have jobs that involve repetitive movements or working with tools may face a higher risk of CTS.
- Health conditions: Underlying conditions such as arthritis, gout, diabetes, alcoholism and hypothyroidism may make someone more susceptible to CTS.
Ask A Doc: What Is Texting Thumb
Jul 29, 2019Cedars-Sinai Staff
Cellphone use can lead to car crashes, bad sleep, and terrible posturenot to mention texting thumb.
Yes, texting, swiping, and scrolling can send you to the hand doctor as well as to your favorite apps.
Using a smartphone or tablet requires hand motions that put stress on several small muscles, tendons, and nerves in our fingers and wrists. These repetitions can lead to inflammation, pain, and even surgery.
To find out more about these technology-driven hand injuries, we spoke to Dr. Eugene Tsai, a hand and upper extremity surgeon at Cedars-Sinai.
Is texting thumb a real thing?
Dr. Tsai: Yes! I see a lot of patients because of their cellphone use.
Most of the problems involve the thumbs, pinky fingers, and wrists, and texting thumbalso known as trigger thumbis one of the biggest issues.
Texting thumb may be more associated with smaller phones. The larger smartphones and tablets usually cause pain in the pinky fingers and the wrists.
What is texting thumb?
Dr. Tsai: Texting thumb is a tendon issue.
Basically, the tendon in the thumb becomes inflamed as it rubs repeatedly against the tunnel surrounding it.
This inflammation soon leads to thumb pain around the knuckle. Patients may also experience a clicking sensation when bending their thumb.
Texting thumb may be more associated with smaller phones. The larger smartphones and tablets usually cause pain in the pinky fingers and the wrists.
Whats happening to our precious pinky fingers?
Phase 3: Return To Sport/work/life
Now its time to start really amping things up so that you can improve your wrist strength and mobility to help keep the pain from reoccurring. Ill give you 4 great exercises below that will do just that.
BUT Its important that this return to work and life doesnt just mean falling back into old habits. Remember that overuse is the main contributor to thumb pain from texting.
So dont just go back to texting mindlessly all day! Our phones are awesome tools, but be conscious of how often youre using one and take it easy.
And hey, your thumb and wrist benefit wont be the only parts of your body to benefit. Your neck and upper back are probably also going to be WAY better off if you limit time spent hunched over that little gadget.
With that said, lets get into the 4 exercises.
How To Treat Cell Phone Elbow
If your elbow hurts and your arm feels weak, you should seek professional help. But if you just have some mild soreness or numbness, you can treat the problem at home.
First, assess the situation, Gehrman says. Starting from your pinky finger, use your other hand to feel where any pain or stiffness might be coming from, and continue all the way up to your shoulder. Pay attention to your outer forearm, especially below the elbow, which is often one of the first places youll notice the muscular effects of cell phone elbow. Gently massage any areas that seem stiff or sensitive. If your elbow is sore, you can massage the tissue around the nerve, but be careful not to massage the nerve itselfthat can cause more damage, he cautions.
Beyond that, keeping your blood flowing and exercising your limbs full range of motion can unstick any tissues in your arm that are over-compressed. Keep those habits up even after youre feeling good so you these lessons dont go to wastethe more you move, the less youll regret scrolling TikTok until you pass out.
What To Do If You Are Injured
If you got an injury in your wrists or hands, you might encounter common symptoms like throbbing, weakness, stiffness, or pain. This pain may occur while you are working on the computer or may stay for all day.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by the compression of the nerves in the wrist and hand. If the nerves get damaged, it may take a long time to heal. But the faster response to the pain may help you take proper measures to treat the injury and prevent it from spreading carelessly. North Texas Hand Center has the best hand surgeon in Dallas. You can reduce the pain by consulting with a specialist and taking anti-inflammatory medicines or pain relievers. Seeing a doctor may also help you diagnose the root cause of the injury. You can schedule a prior appointment by calling at 940-442-6760.
Symptoms Of Smartphone Finger
Symptoms of smartphone finger may include:
- pain or stiffness at the base of the affected finger
- a clicking sound when you move your pinky finger
- difficulty moving your fingers when you wake up in the morning
- in your fingertip
If your symptoms are indeed caused by smartphone use, your dominant hand will likely experience the majority of pain, cramps, and stiffness. Smartphone pinky or smartphone finger tends to be connected to the use of larger devices, such as tablets or e-readers.
Smartphone finger is a relatively new condition, so researchers are still learning about it. It does have some similarities to another known condition called trigger finger.
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Oct 30, 2018
It’s the big projects that always make my wrists cramp. It’s important to take a bunch of breaks when you’re working on blankets or throws. One thing I noticed is that I used to hold my hook in the wrong way. These tips will help me stop my wrist and hand pain.
Aug 03, 2018
These are all great ideas. No matter the hobby that we have there can be pit falls if you do not care for yourself. My favorite way to keep my self pain free is to get up after 45 min or so and go grab some water. I do that for diet purpose. Putting those hand in hand, I have been able to loose a few pounds and if I keep it up I hope to loose more. You must find what will work for you.
Jul 18, 2018
The only time I tend to have pain when crocheting is when I use the smaller steel hooks. They are so small to hold but the hook needs to be to work with the crochet thread. I had never thought o investigate to see if I could apply something to aid in holding it. Now my new search is to find those holders for the steel hooks.
Jul 08, 2018
Jul 24, 2017
Jul 10, 2016
These are very helpful tips for helping with my wrist pain. I started wearing a wrist support many years ago to help. It’s the same kind they use for carpal tunnel syndrome. That helped a lot.but adding these suggestions along with it will surly help even more. Thank you so much for sharing these ideas.
What Causes De Quervains Tenosynovitis
Today this condition is most often associated with texting and other smartphone use.
Two main factors cause and contribute to this overuse and improper positioning i.e., bad posture of your hand and wrist.
That repetitive movement of the thumb as you text or do other repetitive motions can cause inflammation.
Furthermore, if you are in wrist extension and ulnar deviation, which is common to angle the phone to look at it in front of you, it could contribute to the issue by creating a compression point that puts extra pressure on the thumb tendons .
When To See A Doctor
Hand and wrist pain often gets better with things you can do at home.
However, youll need to visit your GP surgery if:
- your pain isnt getting better after treatment at home for two weeks
- the pain is getting worse
- the pain keeps returning
- the pain is stopping you from doing your everyday activities
- your hands are stiff and swollen, particularly in the mornings and these feelings dont get better after half an hour
- as well as being swollen and stiff, your hands are warm and red
- you also feel generally unwell, especially if you have a high temperature
- you have ongoing tingling, numbness or weakness in the hands or fingers.
Its important to get urgent medical attention, if:
- you think youve broken a bone
- you have extreme pain
- any part of your hand, wrist or fingers is a funny shape or colour
- you have lost the feeling of part or all of your hand
- there was a snap, grinding or popping noise when you injured your hand or wrist
- you cant move your hand, wrist or fingers properly.
If you have ongoing hand and wrist pain or a specific condition affecting the hand and wrist it could be helpful to see a hand therapist. These are healthcare professionals with expertise in treating conditions affecting the hand and wrist. Your , rheumatology department or orthopaedic department could refer you to one.
Bonus Wrist Stretch #2
As you probably realize by now getting the proper thumb position from the start is super important. I’ve created a dedicated post on this subject at What is the Best Guitar Thumb Position?
How To Relieve Wrist Pain
This article was medically reviewed by Troy A. Miles, MD. Dr. Miles is an Orthopedic Surgeon specializing in Adult Joint Reconstruction in California. He received his MD from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 2010, followed by a residency at the Oregon Health & Science University and fellowship at the University of California, Davis. He is a Diplomat of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and is a member of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons, American Orthopaedic Association, American Association of Orthopaedic Surgery, and the North Pacific Orthopaedic Society. This article has been viewed 84,020 times.
Wrist pain is a common complaint for many people, although it has quite a few different causes. It’s often caused by ligament sprains from minor trauma, although other reasons include repetitive stress, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, gout and bone fractures.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source Because wrist pain has so many factors, accurate diagnosing is important for determining the most effective treatment. Regardless, caring for wrist pain at home is similar no matter the cause.
What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
You probably already know this since you are already here but in case you are not sure what the pain your experiencing is we will try to explain what carpal tunnel is. Carpal tunnel syndrome is where the median nerve is compressed where it passes through a small tunnel at the wrist. This will cause pain, tingling, numbness or general aching. Often people complain tingling is worse during the night or in the early morning.
Use Smartphone Features To Minimize Typing
Todays smartphones also provide many features that make it easier to text if you live with arthritis. Consider taking advantage of these:
- Voice dictation: With every version of updated software and new phones, voice dictation gets better and more accurate, says Dorsey. It only takes a few steps to set up and can be an easy way to give your fingers a break from texting.
- Predictive text: This can sometimes be a helpful way to reduce the number of times you have to tap a key. Your phone uses an algorithm to complete phrases you typically write or that are commonly used in language, so you only need to click on the words it recommends, rather than typing them out letter by letter.
- Swipe typing: This feature on smartphones allows you to glide from one letter to the next to write a word. You can use either a finger or a stylus to quickly form words without constant tapping. It takes away some of that repetition on your thumbs and shifts the movement so you can use your whole hand, says Dorsey.
- Horizontal screens: Your phone may switch to a larger, wider keyboard when you flip it horizontally. This makes the letters a little bigger so they are easier to hit, and youre not needing to correct yourself as much, says Dorsey.
How Is Cubital Tunnel Syndrome Different From Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The cubital tunnel; the nerve gets pinched back behind the elbow and gives you numbness in the small and ring finger, whereas Carpal tunnel gives you tingling and numbness in the thumb, middle and index finger. They are similar because it is pressure on the nerve, but there is a little difference in the anatomy. The pain and tingling are the nerve telling you that it is uncomfortable.
What Injuries Can Be Caused By Phone Use
Our trio are cautious not to cause alarm – I do not believe smartphone use causes irreversible damage to hands, says Paul Girard – but they do say they have seem injuries related to excessive phone use, especially in unnatural postures.
Tendonitis: Smart phone overuse can lead to conditions called tendonitis – which is inflammation of the tendons, that are like the ropes that move your fingers, says Dr Kakar. Ive seen many patients, from young to old, who have presented with these overuse tendonitis syndromes like DeQuervain tenosynovitis which is inflammation of the tendons that run on the side of your thumb. These patients may have swelling in the wrist adjacent to this area with exquisite pain and tenderness over the thumb side of the wrist that prevents them from doing simple activities such as lifting or twisting.
Arthritis?: Paul Girard and Dr Chen say theres no evidence that phone use itself could cause arthritis, but Chen points out the risk of exacerbating arthritis at the base of the thumb – commonly known as: CMC arthritis or basal joint arthritis. Dr Kakar cautions that repeated thumb use could lead to earlier wear-and-tear of the lining of the joint that can lead to pain and loss of mobility of the thumb base joint.
Nerve compression?: Dr Chen also notes could exacerbate compression of the nerves of the wrist – like Carpal tunnel syndrome or Cubital tunnel syndrome.
Ergonomic Alignment Of Your Wrist Is Important
A major issue is the alignment of the laptop keyboard to the rest of your upper upper- specifically the upper arms, forearms, wrist and hands.
So there are several different types of arm & wrist alignments that you need to consider. First imagine that you are sitting with your laptop on a desk. Such that your bicep is aligned with your chest, and that when you are typing your elbows bend close to a right angle to reach the keyboard.
In this position, sometimes your forearms are elevated compared to the location of the elbow. Sometimes your forearms are lower than the elbow point. And sometimes the forearms are close to 90 degrees perpendicular to the elbow joint, and this one is called the neutral position.
In the neutral position, your wrists will be straight and therefore relaxed and in the best ergonomic position.
When your forearms are in other than the neutral position, you will experience wrist discomfort when typing from your laptop.
Thats because when your forearms are elevated, your wrists need to bend downward such that your fingers can reach the keys. And when your forearms are angled downward, you wrists need to bend upward to reach the keys.
This awkward bending of the wrists while typing causes significant amount of strain to the carpal tunnel that carries your median nerve and the flexor tendons that allows your fingers to move. This strain is multiplied if you type everyday on your laptop in other than the neutral position.
How To Avoid Wrist Pain From Typing Or Texting
North Texas Hand center
July 28, 2020
With the dominance of technology like mobile and computers, wrist injury due to typing and texting is becoming increasingly common. In the beginning, it is a numbing or tingling sensation in hand, which can become so painful for some people that they require surgery later. This pain can be named differently, like carpal tunnel syndrome or repetitive strain injury .
When To Seek Professional Help
Unless numbness, tingling, cramping and stiffness continue after you put down your phone, you probably do not need to seek treatment. If you are still having symptoms when you are not using your phone, then it is likely time to seek the advice of a hand specialist who will be able to look at the symptoms and perform some tests to determine the extent of your injuries. You may have a repetitive stress injury, carpal tunnel syndrome, cubital tunnel syndrome, tendonitis or arthritis that can become irreversible and debilitating. Treatment for tendonitis, arthritis or nerve damage may include immobilization, medication or even surgery.
If you are experiencing hand pain from using smartphones for extended periods of time, making lifestyle adjustments, including lessening the time you spend on the phone and other handheld gadgets, can save you from years of pain.
We understand that in this day and age it is nearly impossible not to use a smartphone, but you should be spending no more than five hours, evenly distributed throughout your day, on your handheld devices. By following the above tips, you can significantly reduce your pain and lower the possibility of temporary or permanent hand damage.
If you are experiencing continuous hand or wrist paint from smartphone use, call us at 698-1280 to learn more about the best options for you or to schedule an appointment with one of our hand specialists.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Stretching
You can help relieve pressure on the median nerve and prevent symptoms by combining carpal tunnel exercises and stretches with other treatments, like wearing a splint. You may wish to speak with your doctor before trying a new stretch or exercise. If you notice pain as you stretch, stop what youre doing and let your doctor know.
You can easily complete this at your desk. Heres what youll do:
- Press your palms together and place them in front of your chest below your chin.
- Keeping your hands pressed together and near your stomach, slowly lower them toward your waistline until you feel stretching under your forearms.
- Hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat two to four times.
Avoid Tasks That Make The Pain Worse
Try to avoid tasks that are causing the pain or making it worse. This may be anything that has a repetitive nature, such as using a screwdriver, painting or lifting heavy objects. You might be able to change the way you do some tasks to take the strain off your hands and wrists. Some conditions affecting the hand and wrist wont get better until you stop doing certain tasks.
Spread Your Fingers Wide With The Index Fingers Pointing Forward
Use every inch of your hand to support your weight. Press into your fingertips, knuckles, and palms with an emphasis on the index finger and thumb, to pull your weight away from the pinkie and heel of the hand . By pressing down through the mounds of the fingers, you are also engaging the underside of the forearm.
Wrist Pain: Causes And Kinks
The source of wrist pain isnt always obvious. Aninterconnected network of nerves stretches from your fingertips to your neck,Dr. Seitz says. Just like a kink in one end of a garden hose can cause thewater to stop at the other end, a kink in your neck or shoulder can causeproblems downstream in your wrist or hand.
Several things can cause pain in the wrist and hands. Someof the more common suspects include:
Carpal tunnel syndrome: This common causes pain, numbness, tingling or weakness in the hand or wrist. It strikes when swollen tendons press on a nerve in the wrist.
Cubital tunnel syndrome: Also known as ulnar nerve entrapment, this is similar to carpal tunnel. It also causes numbness and tingling in the fingers. But it occurs when nerves become compressed in the elbow rather than the wrist.
Arthritis: It can cause swelling, pain and stiffness in the joints. Both types of arthritis can make wrists and hands hurt:
- is more common, caused by wear and tear over time.
- Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that happens when the bodys immune system mistakenly attacks its own tissues.
How To Test For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
To test for CTS, your doctor will consider your medical history and examine your wrist and hand. If they suspect you have CTS, they may perform other tests to confirm their diagnosis.
- Tinels sign test: This test involves tapping on your median nerve near your wrist to see if it causes tingling or pain. If it does, your doctor may suspect you have CTS.
- Phalens test: During this test, the doctor will ask you to flex your wrists to see if it causes symptoms.
- X-ray: Your doctor might order an X-ray to rule out other causes of your pain, such as a fracture or arthritis.
- Nerve conduction study: A nerve conduction study assesses the flow of electrical signals that move through the median nerve and into the hand muscles. A slower flow of electricity may be the result of CTS.
- Electromyography testing: EMG testing examines muscle functioning. It can detect the smallest loss of muscle functioning and identify early nerve damage.
Cellphone Overload: How To Avoid Hand And Elbow Pain
- Post author
Have you ever used your cellphone for so long that your hands became numb, your fingers stopped functioning properly, and you gave up on mentally blaming autocorrect? If so, it was probably slightly comical at the time. If this happens repeatedly, however, soon enough it wont be funny anymore. If you do use your phone frequently, its important to know how to hold your phone to avoid hand and elbow pain.
If you dont, eventually you could be dealing with something worse than just sore , uncooperative fingers, and a really hot ear.