You’ve mastered the art of texting, emailing, and web surfing on your smartphone and computer. But along with that digital prowess, you’ve picked up an unexpected side effect.
“We get a number of patients who develop injuries from these activities,” says Dr. Tamara Rozental, an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in hand, wrist, and elbow disorders at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
The repetitive motions of texting and typing can lead to general hand pain from underlying osteoarthritis (the wearing away of cartilage in the joints). “Using these gadgets doesn’t cause osteoarthritis, but if you’re prone to it, it can increase your symptoms,” Dr. Rozental says.
Using your thumbs too much to text can cause strain or overuse injuries of the tendons that run from the wrist to the thumb (a condition called De Quervain’s tenosynovitis). Symptoms include pain over the thumb side of the wrist, which can appear gradually or suddenly and move up the forearm.