Wireless handheld devices, such as BlackBerrys, iPhones, iPods/iPads, and laptops, are designed to make our lives more convenient—but they can also hurt us. Repetitive motion of our thumbs and fingers while using these devices can result in arthritis or tendinitis.
BlackBerry Thumb is a term used to describe injuries that cause strain and stress from repetitive and excessive use of such handheld gadgets. The thumb is often used to type, but it lacks the dexterity to withstand repetitive use.
For youth, those who repeatedly play handheld video games can also suffer injuries that are caused by strain to their thumbs, fingers, hands, and wrists. Symptoms associated with overusing your handheld device include throbbing, aching, numbness, or burning in your hand or wrist. If arthritis or tendinitis is diagnosed, treatment options include icing, splinting, bracing, and if necessary, a cortisone injection. Long-term nerve damage is rare, but surgery may be required in certain cases.
To help avoid injury, adults and youth should try to use their devices less and rest their thumbs. BlackBerry users should focus on typing shorter and fewer messages.