What Is Texting Thumb?

Whether you love it or hate it, many people use texting as their primary way to communicate. It seems to save time, but has clearly become an impersonal way to make contact with friends, family and work associates. Proponents who text a great deal must admit there can be some downsides, namely painful tendons in the hand and wrist, but what is texting thumb?

Repetitive Stress Injuries

Call it tendonitis, trigger finger, texting thumb, gamer’s thumb, or Quervain’s Tenosynovitis, it is all the same pain resulting from a repetitive stress injury. The pain occurs when repetitive movements lead to inflammation in the tendons of the thumb caused by rubbing against the narrow tunnel surrounding it.

You may also have pain in the knuckle or hear a clicking sound when you bend your thumb. When we move our thumb across a screen to text or write emails, we cause tendon inflammation leading to pain at the base of our thumb, and it may even travel to the lower part of the arm.

You can feel the pain from texting thumb when your wrist is flexed or turned like forming a fist. You might also feel pain if you put direct pressure to the area.

It doesn’t matter if you use a smartphone or a tablet, you are still putting stress on several muscles and tendons.

How Is Texting Thumb Treated?group of kids texting

If you have pain in your thumb area and you know you spend a lot of time on your smartphone, start by taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. Your orthopedist may use steroid injections to provide relief from the inflammation.

If that is not satisfactory, surgery may be required. Surgery to correct texting thumb is non-invasive and lasts only about 15 minutes.

If left untreated you may end up with permanent damage. loss of grip strength, and chronic pain.

Other Ways To Prevent Or Relieve Texting Thumb

Obviously the best way to relieve the pain of texting thumb is to stop texting on your smartphone.

Since that is most likely out of the question, try some of the following:

  • Cut back on how much texting you currently do.
  • Use the audio feature on your phone.
  • Write a long email on your computer at your desk.
  • Wear a thumb brace.

Request a Consultation with an Orthopedic Specialist

If you suspect you or your child may have texting thumb, contact Atlantic Pediatric Orthopedics for a diagnosis, the severity of the condition, and treatment. Give our office a call at (732) 544-9000.