USING SMART PHONES WISELY
IF YOU HAVE A SMART PHONE,you may have spent hours discovering all the things you can do with it. But you mayalso have discovered its downside: repetitive movements of your shoulders, neck, elbows, and thumbs can create painand even structural changes in your joints, muscles, tendons, and nails in addition to straining your eyes.By using your smart phone with some modications, you can avoid or decrease discomfort or pain. The following tipswere created by occupational therapy practitioners who specialize in hand therapy and ergonomics.
Possible condition...What you can do...
Smart Phone Thumb
Symptoms may includediscomort or pain in the wristand thumb when bending either toward the small fnger. You mayalso have a dull aching pain in thebase o your thumb or pain andsnapping in your thumb when you bend and straighten it.
Repeatedly pressing thesmall keyboard and sustained,awkward positioning o your hands and thumbs while typing.
For Living LifeTo Its Fullest
Use one hand to secure the phone and use theindex fnger o your other hand to type.Keep your messages short, and use wordprediction, abbreviations, and pre-typedmessages whenever possible. Avoid multiple Internet searches and limit your timespent playing games using a small keyboard. I easible, use a plug in keyboard to increase thesize o the keyboard and to use multiple fngers.Limit your time using thumb keyboards each day.Be selective in returning e-mails and text messagesusing your smart phone.I you eel discomort or pain, stop and rest your hands. Gently stretch your thumbs, fngers,and wrists.Use ice packs daily as soon as discomort or painappears, to reduce inammation.Provide education on the movements that causedthe discomort or pain and recommend ergonomicstrategies to use the phone dierently to prevent urther issues. Provide splinting as needed to relievesymptoms and enable the tissues to heal. Provideindividualized hand therapy to treat the injury and toavoid urther injury, while suggesting other ways touse the phone eectively.Use the speakerphone eature or hands-ree ear devices when easible to avoid bending your elbow.Change hands requently during extendedconversations without a hands-ree device.
Cell Phone Elbow
Symptoms include tinglingand numbness into your little fnger and possible weakness o your hand.
Continually bending your elbow to hold the phoneto your ear.Recommend ergonomic strategies and equipment or using your phone, as well as ways to help the elbowheal and not urther injure it duringother activities.Provide a splint so you aren’t able to reinjure your elbow while it’s healing.
What an occupational therapypractitioner can do...