Holding the thumb tense for a long time by texting can cause it to get stuck in a bent position, which then pops when you try to straighten it. The tendon sheath surrounding your thumb tendon can become inflamed and thicken, giving pain and preventing free thumb movement.
Thumb arthritis can clearly be aggravated (if not caused) by overuse. The cartilage wears away from the ends of the bones that form the joint at the base of your thumb. It can cause severe pain, swelling, weakness and loss of movement, making even simple tasks, like turning doorknobs and gripping objects, painful. Eventually the joint can enlarge at the base of your thumb.
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
Leaning on the elbows to text or bending them whilst talking on the phone can irritate the ulnar nerve at your elbow, the ‘funny bone nerve’, which causes weakness, numbness, tingling and soreness down the forearm to the 4th and 5th fingers. Try to break the habit of slumping or leaning heavily on the elbows, and avoid over-bending the elbows, especially at night.
Repetitive strain injury to the fingers & forearms
Matthew Bennett from the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) recognised, as far back as 2006, that texting could cause repetitive strain which may cause both short- and long-term injuries. The issue is, when text messaging, we need to hold the phone often with two hands and it’s all too common we keep the shoulders and upper arms tense, which cuts down the circulation to the forearm, when in fact more blood flow is required to help the constant movements of the fingers and thumbs.
Nerve & arterial irritation from the neck or shoulder girdle
With repetitive strains and prolonged tension in the shoulders, arms and neck, the muscles at the base of the neck can begin to spasm and tighten, and can press on either the nerve or the blood vessels down the arm. This can give transitory pain, burning or numbness down the arm to the fingers. Please read more about this in the full article on Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.
Because it’s a small device, the head is bent forward locked in one position without moving for long periods of time. With the lack of movement, the stress on the muscles causes fatigue and spasm with reduced blood flow, especially to the muscles at the base of the skull and can lead to headaches.
Reduced melatonin production can occur with spending time on the phone, making it harder for you to fall or stay asleep.
Walking into a lamppost whilst texting!
I include this because how many of us have done this, or nearly done it (even if we won’t admit it)? Not looking where we are going can cause injury, not just the embarrassment and stick from your friends! Perhaps we need to slow down and look where we are going?
On a serious note, texting is distracting and injuries occur when we are not concentrating.