A new injury has emerged in this, the digital era: “selfie wrist.”
There is no shortage of enthusiastic selfie takers these days, especially among young people, who repeatedly aim their cell phones at themselves in order to visually document their activities, friends and special locations they visit. In doing so, they are hyper-flexing their wrist inwards in order to achieve the ideal selfie angle – something that can cause an ergonomic injury similar to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
The symptoms include numbness and a tingling sensation in the fingers and wrists.
Dr. Levi Harrison, a San Francisco-based physician, is credited with coining the term, “selfie wrist.” Harrison says it involves an irritation of the median nerve, a major nerve of the forearm and wrist.
Harrison says frequently holding a camera/phone at a sharp right angle between their forearm and wrist – especially for long periods of time - can lead to selfie wrist, which can cause pain and a decrease in grip strength.
The symptoms needn’t be permanent. In addition to changing the way you hold your phone (without bending the wrist so much), there are exercises to help restore wrist function. Physical therapists say rotating the wrists slowly in both directions with hands open and semi-closed 20 times a day each will be useful, as will exercises designed to relieve the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.