Thumb Pain aka Blackberry/iphone Thumb

You were excited when you got your first smart phone. You could stay connected almost anywhere with the convenience of the push of a few buttons. And for a while it was great. But over time you started noticing some discomfort at the base of your thumb. It may have started as a mild ache but has now progressed to a limiting pain. You may be developing myofascial thumb pain and tendinitis, also known as Blackberry/iphone Thumb.
This condition refers to a variety of symptoms which stem from the use of hand held mobile devices with typing/texting capabilities. Because of the fine and repetitive nature of the movements needed to operate these devices, overuse can lead to the development of joint, muscle, and tendon inflammation, tightness and restriction, and either generalized or specific thumb pain.
Over time a minor ache may develop into severe pain. The pain might only be present with texting-like movements or it may be a more constant ache. Weakness in grip strength may also be affected as the muscles which offer grip support become overused and over-tired.
Self Care
The first step in managing any kind of repetitive stress/strain injury is to reduce the offending activity. So, difficult as it may be, you should stop texting/typing so much on your mobile. The first step really is that simple.
Try to find ways other than your thumbs to communicate. Options could include using an iPad or Tablet, or even an old-fashion keyboard. Research also indicates that using your voice can be an effective method of communication.
Cold compresses applied to the area are an effective way to reduce pain and inflammation. Ice wrapped up in plastic surrounded by a towel, or one of those blue gel packs you have stuffed in the back of the freezer are good for this. Just ten minutes at a time, a few times throughout the day, can help.
Keep your thumbs loose and mobile. Take time throughout the day to gently stretch them through their range of motion. This can help to prevent the muscles from tightening up. Also, stretch out the muscles of your forearms; they have an influence over how your thumbs function.
Chiropractic Care
Bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage all respond well to chiropractic care and your thumb is no different in this respect. If the above strategies aren't quite enough to get you better we can help with a combination of one or more therapies including Mobilization, Myofascial Release, Trigger Point.
Prevention is always the best strategy. If you’re on your mobile device for much of the day, take care to rest and stretch your thumbs out frequently and avoid the build up of thumb pain and tightness. And if you do need an extra hand getting past the pain, we’re here to help at Hart Chiropractic Center.


4 comments (Add your own)

1. Gord wrote:
Is there any possible way to make it disappear??......I'm done using my thumbs for smartphone use. I'm a musician, and it was impeding(and still is)my playing.

Sat, December 29, 2012 @ 7:56 AM

2. Matthew Hart, D.C. wrote:
If Ice and rest have not helped then it's time for a more thorough evaluation of your thumb. It may need some extensive rehab. Just like any other sprain strain, your thumb is no different when it comes to how the body heals. And because it is used so often in your daily life it may need a more involved rehab.

Mon, December 31, 2012 @ 10:25 AM

3. Felicity wrote:
Thanks for this post. I've begun to really struggle with this and even when I don't use my phone much I still have to use my thumbs to accomplish things. Plus, I have carpal tunnel to compound it.a
Do you believe that time, rest, ice, and stretching it will become manageable? Will I ever be able to go back to my phone?

Sat, February 16, 2013 @ 10:15 AM

4. Matthew Hart, D.C. wrote:
It sounds like REST might be the operative word here. Tell me how much rest you are giving it. Have you tried supportive wrapping or a brace? If none of these self treatments have worked, you might want to try calling your local chiropractor and see if they have experience treating thumb pain.

Sat, February 16, 2013 @ 11:36 AM

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