Those who type a lot on their smartphones or scroll through social media can develop a “cell phone thumb” after a while. But what is that exactly? How do you recognize a cell phone thumb? And what can you do about the pain? We explain that to you in this tip.
What is a cell phone thumb?
The term cell phone thumb is colloquially an inflammation of the tendons in the thumb that can be traced back to excessive smartphone use. In evolutionary terms, thumbs are there to grip and hold things - that is, to move mainly inward towards the palm of the hand. However, when using a smartphone, especially when typing, the thumb has to be bent outward and rotated and stretched. This overloads the tendons in the thumb and wrist, especially with large cell phones and one-handed use.
In some cases, the overload results in tendinitis . This is made up of pain on the thumb side of the wrist noticeable, which can occur both with a tapping movement and with everyday (gripping) movements. If nothing is done about the inflammation, it can spread to the entire hand and lead to significant restrictions in everyday life. In the worst case, a cell phone thumb can develop into a chronic symptom of wear and tear - but you can prevent this if you do something about it early on.
What can you do about a cell phone thumb?
When treating a cell phone thumb, it is important to start quickly . If you notice the first slight pain in the thumb or wrist region, you can prevent the inflammation from worsening yourself..
Limit the use of your cell phone One key tip to prevent a cell phone thumb: Typing less . If you notice a cell phone thumb, you should immediately try to reduce your smartphone use at least for the next few days and weeks in order to protect the tendons in your thumb. This applies to typing , but also, for example, to scrolling through social media . If you do have to type, use both thumbs or even another finger to relieve the painful thumb. Alternatively, many smartphones also offer one-hand modes that bring all elements closer to your thumb, especially on large screens. The basic rule is: the less the thumb has to move and turn over the display, the better.
Thumb and Wrist Breaks
Give your thumb and wrist breaks to rest and relax. During this time, keep it in a neutral position so that there is no overload. It can also help to gently stretch or massage the wrist to loosen the tendons..
See a doctor If you notice the cell phone thumb early on, give the tendinitis a few days to subside. With a little patience and care, the pain often disappears on its own. If, however, no improvement is noticeable after a few days, you should definitely consult a doctor . This can often determine a cell phone's thumb without time-consuming examinations and give you further tips on what you can do against the inflammation. Stabilization of the joint with professionally attached kinesio tape is also possible. This can prevent the pain from becoming chronic. However, interventions in the hand or cortisone injections into the inflamed region are rarely performed, especially in young people.