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Thumb pain while using a mobile phone is a common complaint and is often associated with a condition called “texting thumb” or “smartphone thumb.” Pain caused by mobile phone use is often the result of repetitive movements and prolonged use of the thumb while typing, texting, or scrolling on a smartphone. Here are some tips for avoiding mobile phone thumb pain.

Tips for avoiding mobile phone thumb pain

Below are some factors that cause thumb pain with mobile phone use:

  • Repetitive stress: When using a mobile phone, the thumb is engaged in repetitive movements, such as tapping on the screen, typing messages, or scrolling through content. These repeated motions can strain the tendons and muscles in the thumb, leading to discomfort and pain.
  • Overuse: Many people spend extended periods on their mobile phones texting, browsing social media, or playing games. Continuous use of the thumb without sufficient rest can lead to overuse injuries and pain.
  • Awkward hand positions: Holding a mobile phone in one hand while using the thumb to navigate the screen can lead to awkward hand positions and increased stress on the thumb joint and surrounding structures.
  • Texting posture: Many people adopt a forward-leaning posture when texting on their phones, which can increase pressure on the thumb and lead to discomfort.
  • Pre-existing conditions: Individuals with pre-existing thumb or hand conditions, such as arthritis or tendinitis, may have a higher chance of developing thumb pain with mobile phone use.

Here are some tips to help alleviate thumb pain while using a mobile phone:

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  • Take breaks: Give your thumbs regular breaks from repetitive phone use. Put the phone down and stretch your thumbs and fingers periodically to reduce strain.
  • Use both hands: Try to use both thumbs while typing or texting, rather than relying on just one thumb. Alternating between thumbs can help distribute the workload and reduce strain on a single thumb.
  • Change your grip: Adjust your grip on the phone to reduce stress on your thumbs. Hold the phone with a lighter grip and use your fingers to support the device, rather than squeezing tightly with your thumbs.

In addition to that 

  • Use voice-to-text: Speaking your messages instead of typing them can give your thumbs a rest.
  • Stretch and exercise: Perform gentle thumb stretches and exercises regularly to improve thumb flexibility and reduce stiffness. Consult with a hand therapist or occupational therapist for specific exercises suited to your needs.
  • Use a phone stand: If you spend extended periods on your phone, consider using a phone stand or holder to prop up your device. This can allow you to use your fingers more comfortably, reducing thumb strain.
  • Apply ice or heat: If your thumbs feel sore after extended phone use, applying ice or a warm compress can help reduce inflammation and provide relief.
  • Limit usage: Reduce the overall time spent on your phone, especially during activities that exacerbate thumb pain. Take breaks from social media or other activities that require extensive thumb use.
Tips for avoiding mobile phone thumb pain
Tips for avoiding mobile phone thumb pain

If your thumb pain persists or worsens, get in touch with one of our clinics to see a Hand Physiotherapist. They can evaluate your condition, provide a proper diagnosis, and recommend appropriate treatment options to alleviate your thumb pain and prevent further issues.

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