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Physical Therapy for Sore Hands from Using Smartphones

Smartphone technology is constantly evolving and improving, leaving many of us using our phones throughout the day, whether to text or search online. It tends to be the first item we grab in the morning and the last thing we do before going to bed at night. Here at Impact Medical Miami, we bet you may even be reading this blog post using your smartphone. But did you know that constant overuse causes pain in your wrist because the tendons that connect to your thumb can become inflamed? 

This is why you notice some discomfort, soreness, and even sometimes, shooting pains or numbness in your fingers as you’re typing away on your smartphone. Unfortunately, it’s not only your hands that are affected by your overuse of devices, but your neck also takes a beating. 

Related Blog Post: Chiropractic Care For “Text Neck”

If you find that you’re experiencing pain and discomfort in your hands and wrists, you may be suffering from the impact of overuse of your smartphone due to a repetitive strain injury. 

What Is RSI? 

RSI, or Repetitive strain injury, is used to describe the pain in your muscles, nerves, and tendons caused by repetitive movement, overuse, or spending long periods in a fixed position. This type of strain causes microscopic tears that lead to muscle injury. While it’s usually been found only in laborers, like miners, that repeatedly perform the same tasks, it’s become much more common in avid smartphone over-users. That’s because repetitive movements make it more difficult for your muscles to repair themselves. After all, you’re not giving them the resting period they need. And in some instances, if you don’t seek preventative measures, RSI can turn into chronic, long-term pain.

Common Injuries

A few common injuries are tied directly to smartphone usage, and the first is stenosing tenosynovitis, more commonly referred to as “texting thumb” or “trigger thumb.” This repetitive strain injury causes the tendon in your thumb to become inflamed. While nothing is broken or dislocated, it can be pretty painful. It’s essential to your wellbeing that preventative measures be taken because if it goes unaddressed, severe cases can lead to your thumb becoming locked in a bent position and requiring surgery to correct it.

The other common injury that comes with the overuse of your smartphone is carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a very painful wrist and hand disorder that doesn’t have a single cause but is directly tied to overusing the related muscles that come with holding a smartphone. 

Injury Prevention

One of the best ways to reduce RSI while using your smartphone is to maintain proper technique when you’re typing or texting. When texting, it is essential to keep your wrists as straight as you can. This will help alleviate stress on your muscles. And for your thumbs, be sure to use both of them for typing or scrolling—alternating helps prevent overuse. 

It’s also a good idea to take mini-breaks from your device and stretch your wrists and fingers. Spend time flexing your wrist muscles and fingers, or you can even stop to give those muscles a quick manual.

Some other stretches you can try:

  • Extend one arm in front of you, with your palms upwards. Grab your fingertips with the other arm and pull your fingers down in the direction of your body until you feel a stretching in your wrist.
  • Straighten your fingers, and then pull them in to form a fist. Hold this first for 30-60 seconds before release, then repeat. 
  • Place your hand on a flat surface, palm down. Gently lift one finger at a time, then repeat 8-10 times on both hands.

While taking rests and stretches are a great way to relieve pain and soreness from RSI, seeking the help of a professional physical therapist like the ones at our Miami Impact Medical is the best way to prevent soreness in your hands. Our physical therapists are highly trained to target and reduce the pain in your hands using specialized physical therapy for your hands and wrists. After you complete your physical evaluation, our team works with you to develop an individualized treatment plan that’s designed to alleviate your sore hands and “text thumb” problems. 

Stop Living with Sore Hands

If you think the pain you are experiencing may be from the overuse of your smartphone or have been experiencing the same symptoms even when you’re not using your device, we invite you to reach out to our Impact Medical team in Miami. Our staff is here to provide you with expert, friendly medical care. 

The road to wellness starts here… so, give us a call today at 786-789-3171.