Get a Grip on Your Texting Thumb

Texting Thumb is Painful

While many people will admit to spending a little too much time with their mobile device, few people may be considering the risk of repetitive strain injuries that result from all that use. Fewer still have ever heard of texting thumb, a painful condition that can affect the tendons of the thumb and wrist.
U.S. mobile service subscribers send and receive an average of 764 text messages per month, according to the most recent nationwide data (Neilson, 2013), and it’s a safe bet that teen texting totals are much higher. Even the average of 25 texts per day can put a person at risk for the pain of texting thumb, a real and growing pain problem in our smartphone-saturated society.

Ruth Cioffredi, OTR/L Occupational Therapist“Repetitive tasks should never be done for more than 20 minutes continuously without a break. Switching the muscle group allows for tissues to be more flexible and avoids strain in chronically overused areas.”

Symptoms

Are you experiencing sharp or shooting pain, a constantly aching thumb joint, or a thumb that seems to pop out of place when it’s extended during typing? You might be suffering from Texting Thumb. The strain of constantly holding a cellphone and curling the wrist and thumb to type text messages restricts and thickens the tendons responsible for flexing the thumb and wrist, causing inflammation, searing joint pain, and eventual weakness.

Two Different Sources of Texting Thumb Pain

TRIGGER THUMB

Trigger Thumb Diagram Cioffredi

Pain centered at the base of the thumb on the palm side, which can radiate up the thumb and is often accompanied by snapping or locking of the thumb, is likely caused by an aggravated and inflamed tendon—a condition called trigger thumb that is the most commonly associated with texting.

DEQUERVAIN SYNDROME

Pain that originates on the thumb side of the wrist. A person with DeQuervain Syndrome may feel localized tenderness, pain, and, swelling at the wrist near where the thumb is attached to the forearm. They also may have difficulty pinching or grasping with the thumb or hand, and feel pain when moving the wrist from side to side or when twisting it. DeQuervain Syndrome causes difficulty when flexing the thumb, and may result in limited motion and feeling of weakness in the thumb.

DeQuervain Syndrome Diagram

Treatment

If you are experiencing the symptoms of either trigger thumb or DeQuervain Syndrome, for best results you should seek treatment early. A physical or occupational therapist will work with you to assess your condition and review how you use your thumb, and start working with you to relieve pain and inflammation. Your therapist can give suggestions on how to make adjustments to alleviate stress to that area, and can also help you with exercises for your hand, wrist, and arm that strengthen your muscles and reduce painful tendon irritation. In some cases, an immobilizing splint may be prescribed to support recovery.

Ruth Cioffredi OT Hand Specialist

WE CAN HELP Call us today to schedule an evaluation with one of our physical therapy clinicians: 603-643-7788 

 

Is it Necessary to Have a Referral?

While a written referral is not required to seek care, it may be a requirement of your insurance company.

A benefit of getting a written referral from your doctor or dentist is that it will ensure that they get a copy of your evaluation, re-evaluation, and discharge notes, so that they can keep up with your treatment progress. We are happy to provide referral forms upon request.

RELATED ARTICLES

Is it really carpal tunnel syndrome?
Surgery Avoided with a Little Teamwork
Preventing “Computer Neck”

Further Reading

The American Society of Hand Therapists  (https://www.asht.org/patients/education-resources)

Ashurst JV, Turco DA, Lieb BE. Tenosynovitis Caused by Texting: An Emerging Disease. J Am Osteopath Assoc 2010;110(5):294-296. (Accessed from: http://jaoa.org/article.aspx?articleid=2094077&resultClick=1)

American Physical Therapy Association (Accessed from: http://www.moveforwardpt.com/SymptomsConditions.aspx)

 

 

 



HEALTH CARE COSTS DON’T NEED TO BE A MYSTERY

Making choices about healthcare can be difficult. You want to know—upfront—what you will be expected to pay for services before you incur any costs. You have personal values, you want quality care, and you prefer to make important decisions based on evidence.Informed Healthcare Choice

Healthcare providers and insurance companies have a duty to provide information about the cost of services, and you always have options about where and how you are treated. Ask questions and do some research before you are referred for physical therapy or other healthcare services.

WE ENDORSE PRICE TRANSPARENCY

We’re here to help the pain go away . . . not create more. If you’d like information about the cost of our services, up front, just ask. Call us at 603-643-7788. We’re treating from 6:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. in 2017.


COST COMPARISON TOOLS

Here are some cost-comparison* resources that can help:

HEALTHCARE BLUEBOOK

NH Health Cost Website

VT BCBS Website 

*Be sure that you’re comparing “apples to apples.” Costs per visit will vary between providers, and so it’s best to get detailed information directly from your provider’s office.


REVIEW YOUR COVERAGE

It’s important to consult your health insurance plan, to be sure you understand your responsibility.

  • What services are covered or excluded?
  • Do you have a deductible? Co-pay responsibility? Co-insurance coverage?
  • Are you scheduling with an in-network provider? (Check the Cioffredi In-Network Provider List)

Got Questions? Please Ask!

Call 603-643-7788 or email scheduling@cioffredi.com

 

empower yourself

 


Did Winter Sneak Up On You?

STAY SAFE IN THE SNOW

Take precautions for winter walking.

Take Steps to Prepare for Slippery Conditions

Many people spend time outdoors in the winter—working, traveling, or enjoying winter sports. When the temperatures dip (and stay) below freezing, outdoor activities can expose you to several safety hazards, but you can take steps to prepare for them and stay safe in the snow and ice.

  • Wear appropriate outdoor clothing and waterproof footwear with good treads.
  • Take short steps and walk at a slower pace so you can react quickly to a change in traction, when walking on an icy or snow-covered walkway.
  • Sprinkle cat litter or sand on icy patches.
  • Learn safety precautions to follow when outdoors.
    • Work slowly when doing outside chores.
    • Take a buddy and an emergency kit when you are participating in outdoor recreation.
    • Carry a cell phone.

More Winter Safety Resources from the CDC (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services)

Work Slowly When Doing Outside Chores

Warm up before and take breaks during shoveling snow.Shoveling snow can be a strenuous activity, particularly because cold weather can be tasking on the body. There is a potential for exhaustion, dehydration, back injuries, or heart attacks. During snow removal in addition to following the tips for avoiding cold stress, such as taking frequent breaks in warm areas, there are other precautions workers can take to avoid injuries. You should always do some basic warm-up movement and stretches before the activity. Then remember to scoop small amounts of snow at a time and where possible, push the snow instead of lifting it. The use of proper lifting technique is necessary to avoid back and other injuries when shoveling snow: keep the back straight, lift with the legs and do not turn or twist the body.

More Tips from OSHA on Winter Safety (U.S. Department of Labor)

And if winter gets the better of you, we’re here to help!

Here’s a winter injury success story to encourage you . . . #CHOOSEPT