Scroller thumb is leaving people in agony – the four signs you're at risk
SCROLLER thumb can leave you in agony and is increasingly common as phones get bigger and more addictive.
There are four key signs that you have the “condition”, which arises from constantly typing and playing games, too.
Scroller thumb, also called “smartphone thumb” or “texting thumb”, is when the hand's tendons start to suffer due to the same constant motion.
This could be a repetitive “flick” up the screen while watching Tik Tok videos, or overstretching it across the screen to reach letters on a keyboard, for example.
The tendons can cramp, become inflamed, get stuck in a bent position or are difficult and painful to straighten, called tendonitis.
Before mobile phones became part of daily life, the problem used to only really be seen in factory, labour or office workers.
But doctors at the Mayo Clinic – a world leading healthcare company based in the US – say increasing numbers of people are complaining about this type of pain in their thumb each year.
They have previously warned that the awkward and constant motions of using your thumbs in this way could lead to a form of arthritis.
What are the symptoms of scroller thumb?
- Pain or stiffness at the base of the affected thumb/finger
- A clicking sound when you move your thumb/finger
- Difficulty moving your thumbs or fingers when you wake up in the morning
- Numbness in your fingertips
How can you avoid scroller thumb?
The first thing to try would be to stop using your phone so much.
But if there is no improvement that way, OriGym, a personal training course company, has revealsed four simple exercises to combat the condition.
- Stress ball squeezing
For this exercise you’re going to need a tennis ball or stress ball which fits comfortably in one hand. Take the ball and squeeze it, applying pressure from your fingers, and then release. If you practice this exercise three to four times a day this will help to relax stiffness.
2. Digit extensions
Place your hand flat on a table with your palm facing downwards. Gently try and lift each finger and the thumb off the table, one at a time. Try and lift the tendon as far as you can without it feeling uncomfortable. Repeat this exercise three to four times a day.
3. Finger bends
In this exercise, you will need to start by bending your thumb inwards towards your palm. Then, try and touch the tip of each finger starting from first to last, holding each position for 10 seconds. Doing this three to four times a day will help to strengthen your tendon muscle.
4. Resistance training
For this one, you’re going to need a rubber band. Place the rubber band around your fingers and make sure that the thumb is included. Gently, push your fingers outwards as if you are trying to open up your palm. Do this exercise about five times a day to build strength in your fingers and thumbs.
There are a whole host of other problems associated with too much time on a smartphone or similar device.
Physically, it could cause havoc with your posture if your neck is constantly bent over staring at your phone.
And working from home in shoddy office set-ups during the Covid pandemic is unlikely to help.
Temporary blindness has also been reported by doctors in people addicted to their phones.
It occurs when someone looks at their phone in bed with just one eye, while the other is covered by a pillow.
The strain of using one eye can lead to sudden vision loss for around 15 minutes.
Not convinced to kick your phone addiction? Click here to read more about technology-related injuries.
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