What are the long-term effects of constant thumb use for texting, etc?
Asked by Steve Dewar
In today’s gadget-centred world, the thumb has been called into action more than ever before. Gone are the days when the thumb’s main purpose was to grip tools; it is now vital for modern day communication. Whether you’re relaxing at home playing on a games console or out and about sending texts from your phone, your thumbs are being worked harder than ever. So does this increased thumb use have any knock-on effects? For the average person, your thumb is able to cope with the daily burden of digital tasks. However, extremes of thumb use are becoming much more commonplace, especially due to the constant need to provide new tweets and update statuses via our now-ubiquitous smartphones – all of which has led to the development of conditions such as ‘Blackberry thumb’ and ‘gamer’s thumb’. These are repetitive strain injuries: the thumb and sometimes the surrounding areas become painful and slightly swollen. This is
normally due to the tendons of the thumb muscles becoming inflamed as many small areas of damage accumulate. Though painful, your thumbs should go back to normal if you give them a couple days off. There’s nothing to suggest that texting will cause long-term conditions such as arthritis. (Twitter is for Grandmas too.) But if you were to develop arthritis then you’d probably notice it in your thumbs first as they get so much use. But, providing you don’t go over the top, your thumbs will probably remain capable to handle the challenges the electronic world throws at them.