The ills of modern smartphone use (or overuse)
Using your phone on a regular basis is taking a toll on your body. Here are examples:
Smartphone pinky: Twitter users have been sharing photos of how their pinky fingers are bent, dented, and deformed thanks to too-big smartphones. Popular Science suggests these dents are temporary, but hand surgeon Rachael Rohde warns that these dents could be a sign of a different condition: Dupuytren’s contracture, which causes certain tissues in the hand to stiffen. Either way, it’s probably something you should get checked out.
The fix: Even if this condition is temporary, maybe it’s time to stop holding your phone for such a long time that you end up with a dent in your finger.
Tech neck: ‘Tech neck’ sounds stupid, but the strain you put on your neck by angling your head down to check texts on the sly is very real. New York back surgeon Kenneth Hansraj has found that tilting your head down at a 45-degree angle puts approximately 49 pounds of force on your neck, while tilting your head at a 60-degree angle puts 60 pounds of force on your neck.
The fix: Hold your phone as close to eye-level as possible. Your boss won’t thank you when you do this in the middle of a board meeting, but your spinal cord will!
Text claw: If you’re feeling pain and cramping in your fingers, you’re not alone. The informal term is ‘text claw,’ but what you’re actually feeling is probably a repetitive strain injury from using your hands so often (the good news is that you’d feel this way even if you were using your hands for something else, it’s not smartphone specific).
The fix: There are several methods for treating RSIs, including immobilization, stretching, massage, and not using your phone so frequently (and taking advantage of your phone’s many hands-free options).
Texting thumb: Too much texting, tapping, and forceful phone-gripping with your thumbs can lead to thumb problems like trigger thumb (painful popping and snapping when the thumbs bends and straightens) or thumb arthritis.
The fix: Don’t make your thumbs do all the work. Text with your fingers, too!