Doctors are starting to notice that heavy device users are stressing their hands and wrists at early ages.
The heavy use of mobile technology is starting to generate a trend in injuries to fingers, thumbs, wrists, and other parts of the hand and related areas, such as in joints, tendons, ligaments, and other issues.
Patients are reporting pain in their thumbs, fingers, and wrists at an increasing rate, particularly among device users.
Conditions such as torn tendons in thumbs following prolonged use of mobile technology are popping up in doctors’ offices across the country. Recently, a headline featured a man from California who was 29 years old and who tore a tendon in his thumb following six straight days of playing Candy Crush. Doctors have said that the popularity of mobile technology are increasing people’s vulnerability to stress related injuries. “Smartphone thumb” or “BlackBerry thumb” has actually become a true phrase that is used to described the pain that many people feel in the thumb after typing and swiping too much on their devices.
When these mobile technology related injuries are repeated on a regular basis, the damage can spread.
The use of these devices causes the thumb or wrist to have to bend continually toward the little finger. This can cause a repetitive stress injury that actually cause curling in that direction and that could lead to a dull ache at the base of the thumb. Often, thumbs make a snapping or cracking noise whenever the thumb is bent or straightened.
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The problem is caused by the design of the mobile devices. It requires the thumbs to work on a very small keyboard while the rest of the hand is simultaneously holding the device in position. This type of stress, when experienced repeatedly, causes wear and tear on the hand that can result in degeneration of the various components that make up the fingers and joints.
The highest amount of stress is experienced by the thumb, which can lead to tenosynovitis, which is an inflammation of the tendon sheath. If this stress is repeated over time, it can result in arthritis over the longer term.
According to doctors, this problem is currently seen most commonly among younger users, such as teenagers, as they are the ones who spend the largest amount of time on their mobile technology devices.