While thumb arthritis was always a problem in people aged 40 and above, our increasing dependence and use of smartphones is making us more prone to the ‘smartphone thumb.’
Thumb arthritis refers to arthritis in the thumb — a painful condition that’s caused by repetitive movements of the thumb. Thumb arthritis is now being increasingly referred to as smartphone thumb because the use of smartphone which involves constant typing with the thumb is causing tendinitis in our thumbs. When the tendon that bends and flexes the thumb becomes inflamed, it leads to tendinitis. According to a report by CBSNews.com, thumb arthritis was commonly seen in factory workers earlier. According to Kristin Zhao, biomedical engineer at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, ‘the joints in the thumb get loose and lax, and because of that the bones move differently than they would in a normal situation because the movements we require our thumbs to make as we hold our phones are awkward.’
This ‘abnormal motion of bones in the thumb’ eventually causes pain and leads to osteoarthritis in the thumb. Since these movements are not normal or natural, we force our thumbs to bend and stretch in a particular way so as to make typing and holding the phone easier. But in this process, we are causing massive damage to the tendons in the thumbs.
Ways to prevent thumb arthritis
1) Don’t hold your mobile phones in the same way. Try to change the position frequently.
2) Keep the phone down and type with your forefinger instead of supporting the phone in your hand and typing with a thumb.
3) Do some stretching exercises.
4) Keep your phone away for some time every day.
5) Activate and use voice commands on your mobile phones as much as possible.
6) Hold your phone is different hands.