How to Avoid Smartphone Hand Pain
Although phones have evolved from large rotary style phones to smartphones, the human hand has yet to evolve to match the shape of the device. “Texting thumb” or “trigger thumb” is a common injury from holding your smartphone the wrong way. Other common problems from smartphone use are tendinitis and sore muscles.
Ergonomically Correct Ways to Hold Your Smartphone
Unlike ergonomically correct office chairs, the problem with smartphones and tablets is there are millions of positions you can use them in (most of them are not good for your body). Holding your smartphone at the sides and texting with both thumbs is stressful on your wrists.
You’ll want to minimize the strain on your wrist, try straightening out your wrists as much as possible by playing with your phone holding technique. Try placing your phone on a table while texting, or hold the phone in one hand and text with the other (also known as the “hunt and peck” style of typing). Be sure you are wearing the proper prescription glasses to help you see the screen clearly without bringing your phone closer to your face. Lastly, avoid unnatural movements of the wrist that will put your fingers in an awkward position.
Relieving Hand Pain from Smartphone Use
Smartphone overuse can cause tendons that connect to the thumb to become inflamed at the wrist, causing wrist pain. Your elbow can also be affected if it is constantly bent while holding the phone. These tips can help alleviate some of your hand pain if your symptoms are relatively minor.
- Take a Break
It’s important to take a break from constant phone. During your smartphone break, keep your muscles flexible by flexing your wrist, hand tendons, and muscles forward then backward.
- Utilize Hot or Cold Compress
To relax the tendons and muscles around your arm, use a hot compress. It helps for better movement. If you are experiencing acute pain that lasts for about one week, a cold compress may help better (heat may result in swelling and more throbbing pain).
- Massage Your Hand
To help break up the ball-like muscles in your hand, a massage can help to calm muscle spasms.
- Think About Your Thumb
Alternate using your other fingers for typing on the screen to prevent “texting thumb”.
- Go Hands-Free
Utilize your smartphone’s voice-to-text mode to help send text messages if you’re experiencing hand pain.
When to Seek Professional Help
Most hand pain from smartphone use commonly does not need medical treatment. However, if you are experiencing continuous after smartphone use like numbness, tingling, or stiffness, you may want to speak with a hand specialist. It’s possible to have a repetitive stress injury, carpal tunnel syndrome, cubital tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, or arthritis that can become irreversible and debilitating.
Speak with an Orthopedic Specialist Today
Are you suffering from hand pain? Make an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists today to start your healing journey. OrthoArizona has 21 offices throughout the Valley, each focused on quality care, compassion, and excellent customer service. Since 1994, OrthoArizona has been dedicated to compassionate care of the highest quality.
The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.