Posted by: Pamela Kalivas | December 31, 2014

Texting Turmoil: Are you a Text-a-holic?

While technological advances are aimed at improving efficiency, productivity may actually be taking a hit.  Through distraction and poor ergonomic design, devices like smart phones create conditions that encourage injury.

Texting Thumb

 

SmartPhone blues: Texting causes added stress on the thumb joint, muscles, and tendons due to repetitive use on a daily basis. This repetitive stress injury is known as texting thumb.  Especially alarming (and avoidable!) is the risk of tendonitis in the thumb: thickening and eventual inflammation of the flexor tendon.

 

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Cubital tunnel syndrome may also result from constantly bending your elbows while using your smartphone device.  Typically, cubital inflammation results in pain and soreness inside of the elbow and forearm.  It can occur after a few years of wear and tear.

To prevent texting thumb and cubital tunnel syndrome:

  1. Vary the hands or fingers you use to text.
  2. Don’t text for more than a few minutes without a break.
  3. Straighten your arms at the elbows every 30 minutes
  4. Avoid positions that keep your elbows flexed when possible.

Or if you are tired of texting… call the person! You may also use a wireless bluetooth to prevent bending your elbow on calls.

Driving while texting is obviously dangerous, but what about texting while walking?  Healthline News published an article stating injuries are often under-reported when associated with texting and walking.  The various hazards include bumping into walls, falling down stairs, and stepping into traffic.   Dr. Dietrich Jehle reports that at least 10% of pedestrian injuries in the hospital result from distracted phone use.  Spending more time on your phone texting increases your risk of injury.

So how do you determine if you are a frequent texter?

Texting Sign 1

 

According to an article in the American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, frequent texters send 1209 text messages a month on average.  That’s at least 40 messages per day! Frequent texters have larger tendons than infrequent texters and are more prone to developing tendonitis.  Count your text messages during the month and find out if you are a frequent texter.  Keep your head up and take a break if you plan to text.  You don’t want to end up a pedestrian pancake for a message like, “K, see you later.”

 

~Pam

Sources:

The Wall Street Journal

http://www.healthline.com/health-news/tech-texting-while-walking-causes-accidents-031014

http://www.rush.edu/rumc/page-1298330047459.html

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