Smart Phone Hand Pain & How to Prevent It
With phones able to perform practically any task, it’s no wonder people are spending more time on them. With social media apps and games for entertainment, accessible apps related to work, music, and advanced camera technology, it’s easy to pick up your phone throughout the day to do what you need.
While it may be easier to pick up your phone than fire up your computer or camera, it may also come at a cost. Many people are now reporting pain due to smartphone usage and are wondering how to fix it or prevent it in the first place if they aren’t experiencing symptoms already. The team at The Hand and Wrist Institute is here to help.
How Much Time Does the Average Person Spend On Their Phone?
The average person in the United States spends between five and six hours per day on their smartphones. This time does not include the time dedicated to work-related phone use. Only 5% of people in the United States stated that they spend less than an hour per day on their phones. Most people use their phones for:
- Morning alarms.
- Checking their email.
- Texting family and friends.
- Taking pictures.
- Posting and connecting on social media sites.
- Checking the weather.
- Playing games.
- Watching videos.
If this list sounds like what you do with your phone daily and you’ve started to experience hand pain, your smartphone use may be to blame.
Hand Pain Due to Smartphone Usage
Hand pain caused by smartphone usage may be responsible for that hand aching you’ve been experiencing. While the technology of our phones has advanced, and they’re now basically small portable computers, they’ve also gotten larger. Using a phone for hours on end can lead to conditions such as a repetitive stress injury known as stenosing tenosynovitis or trigger thumb. It can also cause problems such as sore muscles or more severe issues such as tendinitis or carpal tunnel syndrome, which is most often treated with surgery. Tendinitis is caused by repetitive motions, leading to inflammation and soreness.
These conditions are caused by how we hold our phones, clutching them with our fingers and using our thumbs to navigate our way around the screen. Symptoms of trigger thumb or trigger finger include:
- Stiffness or pain at the base of your affected finger.
- Difficulty moving your fingers in the morning.
- Numbness in the tips of your fingers.
- Clicking sounds when you move your thumb.
- Throbbing thumb pain.
If you are experiencing finger or hand pain and believe it’s been caused by using your smartphone, you want to seek professional help. At the Hand and Wrist Institute, we’re experienced in dealing with these conditions and can properly diagnose and treat your symptoms.
How to Prevent Hand Pain from Smartphone Use
If you must use your phone for work, school, or enjoy some time throughout the day to browse the web, it’s essential to try to prevent this pain from occurring in the first place. The main point here is to decrease the amount of pressure on your hands and refrain from repetitive motions. The following tips may help to prevent hand pain from smartphone use:
- Use your phone in shorter sessions.
- Send shorter text messages or use voice-to-text when you need to send a long message.
- Call your family and friends more often instead of texting them.
- Switch hands when using your phone.
- Stretch your wrist and fingers throughout the day, especially when you’re on your phone for more extended periods.
- If you notice your hand hurting, put down the phone.
Treatment Options for Smartphone-Related Hand Pain
If you’ve been experiencing hand pain related to smartphone use, there are some things you can do to try to alleviate the pain, including:
- The best thing you can do for your pain at this point is to put your phone down. Take a break from your phone screen and give your hands a rest. While we understand it’s not reasonable to expect people to put their phones down for weeks at a time, try to take as much time as you can to rest.
- Ice the site of the pain or try heat therapy such as a warm compress or a heating pad
- Take a pain reliever such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help manage pain and swelling that may be occurring.
- Stabilize your hand by using a brace or a splint to keep your hand and fingers stable throughout the day and helps to reduce pain.
While it may not seem like using your phone can cause this much trouble, it can and does happen to countless people. If left untreated, it can cause severe damage. If you’ve tried these home remedies and it doesn’t seem to be helping, or your pain continues after you’ve put down your phone for a while, please don’t hesitate to give The Hand and Wrist Institute a call 855-558-4263 to schedule an appointment. Dr. Knight and his team will work with you to develop a plan that can help alleviate your pain.
Contact The Hand and Wrist Institute Today
If you’re experiencing hand pain and believe it’s been caused by using your smartphone, reach out to our experienced team at The Hand and Wrist Institute today. We’re one of the region’s leading centers for diagnosing, treating, and caring for hand and wrist disorders. Our board-certified orthopedic surgeon has more than 20 years of experience and is dedicated to providing the best solution for you and your specific situation.
Most of our patients benefit from conservative treatment methods. Still, if surgery is necessary, our team is equipped with the knowledge, equipment, and skill necessary to bring life back into your hands. If you want to speak with a member of our team or make an appointment with Dr. Knight, you can reach us at 855-558-4263 or 817-382-6789. You can also contact us online via our secure messaging system, and someone will reach out to you promptly. Don’t suffer from hand pain; find relief today at the Hand and Wrist Institute.