Practice Safe Texting
Have you been feeling a tingling sensation or some tenderness in your thumbs lately? Or how about some numbness in your wrist? Those are just some of the symptoms of “text thumb”. Our expert therapists at Arrow Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation see many patients who display the symptoms of this repetitive stress injury caused by the fine, recurrent thumb movements required for texting.
With the advent of smartphones and the growing popularity of sending digital messages by telephone, we’ve traded “telephone neck” for what is now known as “text thumb” (though just a few decades earlier it was dubbed “Nintendo thumb”). The thumb’s purpose is to grip and grasp objects. The downward motion of texting places unwanted stress on ligaments and muscles, leading to irritation and inflammation that can often extend to the wrist.
Treatment with our therapists can help alleviate the problem, but there are steps you can take to prevent injury:
- Minimize your overall use. Sending a quick message occasionally won’t give you “text thumb”, but entire conversations via text message can make your thumbs cramp up and injure ligaments and muscles.
- Reduce keystrokes. While many people turn off their autocorrect, automatic word choice options on your phone can be useful.
- Type lightly. Many phones have settings for keyboard sensitivity, so set yours to a setting that will make it easier for you to type lightly.
- Stretch. Though it may not get your heart rate up, texting is a work out for your thumbs. Be sure to shake and stretch out your hands occasionally. Squeezing a stress ball can also be beneficial for hand strength.
Texting and sending e-mails can certainly be a convenience, but sometimes picking up the phone and calling someone can make all the difference in an important business conversation as well as in preventing injury.
Feel free to give us a call for more tips on how to avoid or treat “text thumb” at (732) 494-0895.