Time has lead us into a new situation today, where we all are captives of our gadgets especially mobiles. We are so dependent on our mobiles today that we feel lost without them. It has become impossible for us to stay without our phones even for an hour. In fact, we keep checking our mobiles at least once in every ten to fifteen minutes. Our phones have attained an extremely important position in our lives. It helps us in communicating, networking, finding places, finding answers to all our questions, music, movies, pictures and numerous other things. Texting has become the vastly used method for communication.
Today, almost every other person owns a phone, including children of age four and five. The texting feature is being used immensely by all age groups. There are also a lot of options to use various texting apps that are being launched every day! People have been texting so profusely that they have started straining their thumbs and palms, leading to various problems. Arthritis and repetitive stress injury are two of them. There is also new term coined in the medical field for the repetitive stress injuries in the thumb caused due to texting. It is called ‘texting thumb’.
The repetitive stress injuries are caused due to excessive usage of a body part. In this case, we overuse our thumbs for texting. This can also be caused due to extreme usage of our hands for typing, playing video games, handling the consoles and much more.
A repetitive strain injury is a result of inflammation and in some cases, damage of muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves. This injury can be seen in fingers and even wrists of people. The person affected by this injury experiences pain, stiffness, numbness and sometimes even twitching.
People who strain their hands by texting can also get arthritis. This causes inflammation in the tendon that helps us bend and flex our thumbs.
The arthritis caused by texting falls under the ‘osteoarthritis’ category. It is caused due to wear and tear of cartilage.
Since the cartilage does not stretch properly, it is more susceptible to further damage. There is a probability of more damage to the cartilage due to the inflammation and swelling that happens in the joints when arthritis is developed.
Due to the damaged cartilage, the bones touch each other without protective cartilage in between, causing immense pain and restricted movement.
Almost all the people are on the verge of texting their way to reach their unknown destination, ‘texting thumb’ and ‘arthritis’. Keeping all these factors in mind, we must take necessary steps to keep ourselves away from such problems, and must make efforts to avoid it.
Some preventive measures like texting slowly, making calls when the information to be communicated is long, keeping our texting sessions short, taking a break while texting or typing, stretching and shaking wrists and fingers, etc. can be adopted to reduce the chances of experiencing discomfort. Using the index finger, using voice activation to text and using ice on fingers after overuse, can also help.