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Blackberry Thumb

Blackberry Thumb

For those of us who spend hours and hours on the computer, carpal tunnel syndrome is a real threat to our health. There’s also the possibility of eyestrain and headaches, usually nothing a few eye drops and a couple of Tylenol can’t fix. But for those of us who are dependent on our Blackberries, watch out for the latest health diagnosis in medicine: the “Blackberry thumb.”

Blackberry thumb earned its name because the personal digital assistant (PDA) device requires that you use mostly your thumbs to type because the keys are so small. It’s possible to type so much with your thumbs that you can actually incur a stress injury in them.

Researchers say teens’ thumbs can handle the pressure of seemingly non-stop texting or typing with PDAs. It’s the 40+ group who use them all the time that run the greatest risk of developing Blackberry thumb. Symptoms of Blackberry thumb include: pain and numbness in the thumbs and hand joints. If you experience these symptoms, researchers recommend you:

*Stop texting or typing for a while, and use your computer more instead.

*Make your responses as short and concise as possible.

*Ice the affected area.

*Talk to your doctor about a night splint. The custom-made splint for your thumb might relieve some of the pressure on your joint while you sleep.

*Talk to your doctor about strength-training exercises for your thumbs. (What would these look like: thumb push-ups?)

*If it’s a severe case, talk to your doctor about cortisone shots or possible surgery.

Are you at risk for developing Blackberry thumb? Have you already received this health diagnosis? What was your experience? [HealthDay]

Posted: 6/16/08