Avoid ‘selfie elbow’ and ‘texting thumb’: Smartphone injuries

Hamna HumailWeb Editor

17th Oct, 2020. 03:11 pm

There have been frequent complains of finger, hand and elbow pains as a result of excessive use of smartphones. In today’s times, we cannot fathom life without our cellular devices, be it for leisure or work. Physicians fear that smartphone addiction can be life threatening as it leads to many health problems.

Dr Raghavendra KS, Joint Replacement & Spine Surgeon at Fortis Hospital, Kaylan, reported several people complaining of finger, hand and elbow pain. This was due to them being frequent users of mobile phones.

He recommends the following to prevent smartphone injuries:

  • Using a selfie stick or giving your elbow support while capturing moments
  • Substitute using your thumb, alternating between using the fingers and thumb
  • Use both hands instead of only using one hand to text
  • The pad of the thumb should be used instead of the tip. The latter may form a bend which can lead to a possible injury
  • Keeping your wrists as straight as possible reduces the strain on the wrist, fingers and thumbs as it provides a neutral grip
  • The phone should be used at eye, chin or chest level in order to lessen strain on the neck and spine
  • Placing the phone on one side of the body should be avoided. It’s a common posture when one answers calls while multitasking
  • A ‘device-free break’ is recommended after 20 minutes of usage

Exercises for injury relief are recommended:

For hands, fingers and thumbs

  • Twist fingers and thumb into a tight fist, then straighten and stretch them out
  • Start with your fingers completely extended, then spread them apart

For the wrist

  • With your elbow extended, hold your arm out in front and flex the wrist frontward (hold for 20 seconds on each side)
  • Slowly rotate each wrist clockwise and anticlockwise for 15 seconds while folding your fingers towards your wrist

For the neck

  • Gently pull your head to one side and rotate your nose towards that shoulder (hold for 20 seconds on each side)
  • Lift your head towards the sky and while releasing your breath, move your head and neck downward. This exercise should be repeated 10 times

For the shoulders

  • The shoulder blade should be turned inwards and outwards 10 times
  • Raise and rotate your left and right hand non-simultaneously and rotate forward and backwards 5 times
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