Category Archives: thumb injuries

Touch Screen Finger Pain

Feeling slight finger pain when using touch screen? Ask yourself this : How many time does your finger touch or swipe the screen on your smart devices in a day? Probably more than 2,000 times a day. Hard core users could press their touch screen up to 5,400 times a day. You might have thought that with a device so common nowadays, it could not have cause any harm to you. Right?

Not so. Touch screen may cause strain to your finger through continuous use. It is the new version of texting thumb syndrome.

Touch Screen Finger Pain According to Dr. Franklin Tessler, professor in the Department of Radiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the use of smartphones, tablets and touch screen PCs can lead to stress-related injuries. This is because due to their portability, these devices often does not encourage the users to apply right ergonomics when using them. He has identified 3 major injuries related to using these computer devices :

There are several remedies you can apply to reduce the risk and lessen the stress on your fingers while using touch screens.

First, learn to apply the right force when pressing the touch screen. Due to lack of tactical feedback on touch screens, user tend to use excessive force when pressing and when the phone is not responding as fast, we tend to press harder.

We tend to use one finger (usually the index finger) especially for typing on the small touchscreen. For a heavy Whatsapp user, this could mean hundreds of presses using one finger for each message sent. Therefore, try to distribute the stress by using two thumbs or other fingers to press and occassionally interchanging them.

Finally, if you are already suffering from finger pain from overuse of touch screen, put on a brace and give your fingers as much rest as possible. We recommend one of these tried and tested braces below.

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)

Try this little simulation : Press your index finger (normal pressure, not extreme pressure) against the floor or wall. Repeat it for 20 to 30 times. Or until you feel slight pain between your finger joints.

Chances are, you will start feel a little pain after pressing about 20-plus times. This is an example how repetition of the same activity over a short period of time could cause stress to your body. This is especially true for small and nimble parts like fingers and thumb.

The pain caused by such repetition of activity is called Repetitive Strain Injury or RSI.

In a day, we would probably used our thumb (and index finger) for thousands of actions a day – brushing the teeth, opening bottle caps, turning on a switch, clicking that mouse, tapping that touchscreen. Being the most used part of the hand, the thumb and index finger are more susceptible to RSI than other fingers.

If your index finger hurts when pressed, it could be a sign of RSI if you have no history of injury and have been recently overworking your fingers. By trying the first simulation exercise above, you will be surprised on how easy it is to hurt our fingers with RSI. Most will not even realize the injury until after it persists for a long time.

RSI, as its name suggest, is a type of injury and should not be ignored or taken lightly. Seek professional advice if you find yourself suffering from pain due to RSI.

Texting Thumb Syndrome

Do you feel a wearing pain at the lower part of your thumb or thumb joints? And there is an urge to press the thumb to ease the pain. You may have the texting thumb syndrome.

Think back, if you have been texting continuously a few hours daily for several days or weeks, there is a high probability you had the texting thumb.

In fact texting thumb syndrome is a part of a more generic Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI). Basically, any repeating and continuous movement of your body parts can lead to RSI. Some parts like the thumb, fingers and wrist are more prone to RSI as they tend to get overused due to work or lifestyle factors.

Today, texting has become daily part of any mobile users life. It is easy to get addicted and text continuously. However, the layout of keypads on mobile phones today is not really natural for our fingers. The pressure you put on your thumb while texting may not be felt immediately, but the pain that comes afterwards may last for several days.

What can you do to remedy texting thumb syndrome? For immediate relief, massage the bottom of your thumb using press and release motion for 10 minutes. For rest of the week, try to stop using the affected thumb for texting or other strenuous work. If the thumb pain lasts for days, wear a flexible thumb brace to limit your thumb movement and allow it recover.

If left untreated, prolonged texting thumb syndrome could lead to thumb arthritis. Frequent grinding of thumb joints at rapid speed during texting will deteriorate the bone cartilage. At that point, the damage to your thumb may be irrecoverable.

If you really cannot stop texting, there is an alternative – get a touchscreen phone! Typing on touch screen requires less pressure and thus less stress on the thumb. However, to really avoid texting thumb syndrome is to refrain from using the thumb and fingers to0 frequently for too long.

Thumb Arthritis

Thumb arthritis is a thumb pain caused by the ‘wear and tear’ of joints. Just like any type of arthritis, thumb arthritis results in the bone grinding each other because the cartilage has wear off. And you would feel this (pain) doing your daily activities that uses the thumb vigorously.

How to tell if you have thumb arthritis?

You feel pain at the base of your thumb (near the joints). This pain comes back often and is usually increasing in intensity. In advanced stage of thumb arthritis, swelling may develop in the joints and your thumb may get misaligned or ‘crooked’.

What can I do to ease the pain?

There are many methods that can help to relieve the pain and pressure from the thumb joints :

  • Light exercises that involve smooth and natural movement of the joints. Avoid high impact exercises and those that involve heavy lifting.
  • Taking supplements such as chondroitin and glocosamine.
  • Wear a thumb brace often to prevent overuse of the thumb and to rest the thumb.

Unfortunately, you can’t really reverse the damage to the joints that caused thumb arthritis in the first place. Consult a rheumatologist (a specialist in arthritis) for advanced treatments and the possibility of having a joint replacement surgery aka. arthroplasty.

Thumb Pain

Having thumb pain when gripping something? Does the thumb pain persists even after resting for a long time?

These injuries may be characterized by pain in one or several parts of the thumb and palm of your hand, eg. pain of the thumb muscles, at the base of your thumb, thumb joints or tip of the thumb. You may also notice the thumb pain during specific period or activity, eg. gardening, doing household chores, after sports or during pregnancy.

If you experience pain described above, you might be suffering from one of the thumb injuries below.

  • Sprained thumb
  • Broken thumb
  • Thumb joint pain
  • Thumb tendonitis
  • Thumb arthritis
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Trigger thumb
  • Gamekeepers’ thumb
  • Skier’s thumb

Some of the common causes for thumb pain are injured muscles or tendon, joints and bones. Aging is also one of the main cause for most joints pain, including thumb pain.

Modern living also introduced new causes for thumb pain. Activities such as prolonged use of the mouse, aggresive texting and use of mobile devices put extra pressure on the thumb.

As sturdy as it is, the thumb also may suffer from various injuries due to prolonged strain or accidents. If your thumb pain does not go away within a day or so, you should take a serious look into the symptoms. Do not ignore the pain as this will only aggravate the injury.

To find out whether you need a thumb brace for your condition, see the treatment details for the thumb injury. In any case, it is best that you consult your doctor about the symptoms of your thumb pain and take action to remedy it immediately.

 

As sturdy as it is, the thumb also may suffer from various injuries due to prolonged strain or accidents. If your thumb pain does not go away within a day or so, you should take a serious look into the symptoms. Do not ignore the pain as this will only aggravate the injury.