What do you use your phones for?

Alarm- or as a wake-up call

Send friends/ family Good morning/ important updates

Check E-mails and reply back

Read Facebook notifications and reciprocate

Browse through Whatsapp and reply back

Click pictures and post them

Write reminders and schedule

Online shopping and playing games

Transactions for various activities

Read News and Updates

If yes then you might have faced pain or discomfort in the thumb region. The list is endless and so is the number of times you use your thumb for operating that phone!

The human thumb is not designed to hold objects and use them continuously but technology has forced us to do so. For every activity, we use mobiles and tablets and unknowingly use thumb nearly 700-900 times a day. If this seems too much check out the time you are away from mobiles. If it is only during your sleeping hours then you are almost using it 750 times.

De Quervain syndrome is commonly known as Texter’s thumb, Gamer’s thumb or Smartphone Thumb. It is the painful swelling of the tendons that control thumb movement. The tendons over the wrist go through individual tunnels. The inflamed and swollen tendons rub against the narrow tunnel thereby causing pain at the base of the thumb that can radiate up into the tip of the thumb and into the forearm.

It is a type of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) of the thumb and wrist. There are two main causes of pain using the phone:

A.Tip of the thumb pressing the key again and again

B.Long and frequent traveling of the tendon for texting. This can cause pain when the wrist is flexed or when forming a fist or when grabbing an object.

The repeated strain of the tendon can also cause long term consequences including arthritis of the thumb. Expert Physiotherapists can examine the condition of the tendon and its excursion. A proper rehabilitation includes stretching exercises, tendon gliding exercises, strengthening of internal muscles, thumb support devices, wrist, and hand active exercises, electrical modalities, prevention strategies, etc. 

 Taking some off time from using the phone is itself an easy to say but difficult to do exercise which gives it rest from repetitive stress. A well-managed protocol helps in treating thumb pain and discomfort along with preventing recurrences.