4 Ways to End the Pain of ‘Smartphone Thumb’

thumbs smartphone
Photo by Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

America’s obsession with smartphones has created a new health problem — the “smartphone thumb.”

Symptoms of the ailment — which is a result of using your thumbs to repeatedly type on a smartphone keyboard — include pain or discomfort when you bend your wrist or thumb toward the small finger, according to the American Occupational Therapy Association.

Some people also feel a dull ache in the base of their thumb, or a “snapping” in the thumb when bending or straightening it.

The source of the pain is tendinitis, CBS News reports. The repeated pressing down of typing causes inflammation in the tendon that bends and flexes the thumb.

Dr. Kristin Zhao, a biomedical engineer at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, tells CBS the movements we require our thumbs to make while holding a phone are awkward. Zhao said researchers suspect repeatedly typing with your thumbs causes the joints to loosen, leading to the bones moving differently than they normally would:

“Our hypothesis is that abnormal motion of bones in the thumb could be causing pain onset and eventual osteoarthritis.”

How to prevent smartphone thumb

To prevent smartphone thumb, the AOTA recommends the following tips:

  • Stop using your thumbs. Instead, secure your phone with one hand, and use the index figure of the other hand to type.
  • Keep messages short. The less you type, the better. Using word prediction, abbreviations and pre-typed messages also can help.
  • Limit internet searches and game playing. If possible, plug in a full-size keyboard so you can use multiple fingers.
  • Get your digits moving. Stretching your thumbs, fingers and wrists can help reduce pain. Daily use of ice packs can also help reduce inflammation.

Is smartphone thumb an issue for you? Share your experience by commenting below or on our Facebook page.

How to find cheaper car insurance in minutes

Getting a better deal on car insurance doesn't have to be hard. You can have The Zebra, an insurance comparison site compare quotes in just a few minutes and find you the best rates. Consumers save an average of $368 per year, according to the site, so if you're ready to secure your new rate, get started now.

Read Next
20 Purchases That Buyers Almost Always Regret
20 Purchases That Buyers Almost Always Regret

The temptation can be great, but stop and think before you buy these items. You’ll save yourself money and trouble.

These 5 States Have the Worst Health Care for Retirees
These 5 States Have the Worst Health Care for Retirees

All of these states are located in the same region of the nation.

The 13 Worst Types of Tickets for Your Car Insurance Rate
The 13 Worst Types of Tickets for Your Car Insurance Rate

Some types of traffic violations can drive your car insurance rate dramatically higher.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started


Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.