Move Over “BlackBerry Thumb,” Here Comes “Cellphone Elbow”
A new medical report warns of the dangers of "Cellphone Elbow."
By Al Sacco
Managing Editor, CIO
You’ve probably heard of the ailment commonly referred to as “BlackBerry Thumb.” The condition, not unlike carpal-tunnel syndrome of the wrist, causes stiffness, tingling, discomfort–even pain–in the thumbs and hands. And it’s a result of over-employing your thumbs and the joints that connect them to your hands, often while typing on some sort of mobile device. A BlackBerry, for instance–hence the clever name.
Cellphone Elbow comes about when abnormal pressure is applied to nerves in the forearms for extended periods of time, impeding the flow of blood and leading to discomfort and pain throughout the elbow and forearm region, according to Drs. Michael Darowish, Jeffrey Lawton, and Peter Evans, who penned the Cleveland journal paper. And it can supposedly result in permanent damage.
Then again, a recent Scientific American piece on the subject of Cellphone Elbow suggests the whole thing may be blown way out of proportion. Michael Hausman, chief of hand and elbow surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, says in the story that the condition isn’t really caused by anything in particular and that the vast majority of cellphone users never experience any such symptoms.
I tend to agree with Hausman, but if you think you’re already afflicted by Cellphone Elbow–or BlackBerry Thumb–have no fear, Dr. Glen D. Cohen, M.D., recently compiled a list of “treatments”…though you could just take my advice–which amounts to about the same thing–and simply reduce the amount of typing you’re doing via mobile device. But that’s just me.
Al Sacco was a journalist, blogger and editor who covers the fast-paced mobile beat for CIO.com and IDG Enterprise, with a focus on wearable tech, smartphones and tablet PCs. Al managed CIO.com writers and contributors, covered news, and shared insightful expert analysis of key industry happenings. He also wrote a wide variety of tutorials and how-tos to help readers get the most out of their gadgets, and regularly offered up recommendations on software for a number of mobile platforms. Al resides in Boston and is a passionate reader, traveler, beer lover, film buff and Red Sox fan.