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Heard of Selfie Elbow Or Texting Thumb? Smartphone Injuries Are Serious

With the boon of social media and spending long hours on our handsets, from getting the perfect selfie to constantly texting your clique, smartphones have made our lives simpler. Even then, an increasing number of people have complained of finger, hand and elbow pain as a result of frequent use of devices, referring it to the ‘selfie elbow’ or the ‘texting thumb’. If you are a fervent smartphone user, Dr Raghavendra KS, consultant, joint replacement and spine surgeon, Fortis Hospital, Kalyan, tells you how to reduce the effect of such injuries.

  • Keeping your arm in the same stiff position for the picture-perfect shot is not appropriate, use a selfie stick or place your elbow on something that offers support.
  • Alternate between using your thumbs and other fingers whenever possible, use your fingers to type and scroll as a substitute for your thumbs.
  • Place your phone down on a surface if you are texting, or else hold the phone in one hand and text with the other, instead of using only one hand.
  • If you are using your thumbs to type, use the pad of your thumb, as opposed to the tip of the thumb as this may create a bent position which can lead to potential injury.
  • Keep your wrists calm and as straight as possible. Reduce the strain on your wrists, fingers and thumbs by using a neutral grip when holding your device.
  • Try to maintain the phone at the level of your chest, chin or eye level to lessen the bend in your neck and to maintain optimal spinal posture. If your phone is under eye level, look down with your eyes rather than your neck.
  • Stay away from using the phone to one side of the body, with the neck cradling the phone stuck between your ear and shoulder – a common posture to answer calls when you are multitasking.
  • Limit your device use to 20 minutes at a time and take a short ‘device-free break’ in between.

Exercises That Can Help You Avoid Smartphone Injuries

For Hand, Fingers And Thumb

  • Clench your fingers and thumb into a firm fist and then straighten your fingers backwards as far as you can go without experiencing pain.
  • Keep yourn palm open and stretch your fingers apart as far as you can go. Try doing this 10-15 times in a set. 

For Wrist

  • Place your palms together in front of your face in the "prayer" position while squeezing your forearms and elbows together. Flex the wrist frontward. Do it again with the wrist extended (hold for 20 seconds on each side).
  • Make a firm fist and gently rotate each wrist clockwise for 15 secs. Then move the wrists anticlockwise for another 15 seconds.

For Neck

  • Lift your head towards the sky gently, breathing in. While releasing your breath, move your head and neck downward (like nodding). Repeat this exercise 10 times
  • Use your hands to gently pull your head to the side and rotate your nose towards the same shoulder. (Hold for 20 seconds on each side)

For Shoulders

  • Turn the shoulder blade 10 times inwards and 10 times backwards.
  • Raise your left hand upward and rotate it frontward 5 times, repeat the same backwards. Do the same motion with your right hand.

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