You use your smartphone every day, all day. A smartphone seems safe enough, but using it too much can cause injury. Smartphone injury may seem strange, but it’s a growing problem. Here are 7 of the most common smartphone injuries and how to avoid them to help you understand more about these injuries.
Your smartphone is your lifeline.
Your smartphone is more than a phone. It is like a lifeline for the world. Over the years, as smartphones have gotten smarter, their daily use has increased. Like most people, you probably use your smartphone every day in many ways, such as the following:
- An alarm
- Communicate with friends and family.
- Reading the news
- To check work emails.
- Listen to music
- Take photos
- Navigate to a destination
- Audiobooks or read a book
- Exercise like counting steps
What is the difference between carpal tunnel and cubital tunnel?
Excessive use of your smartphone can cause two common injuries: cubital tunnel or carpal tunnel. These two conditions are similar because in both cases, there is pressure on the nerves.
When the ulnar nerve inside the cubital tunnel, the tunnel that incorporates the muscles, ligaments, and bones inside the elbow, becomes inflamed or irritated. Cubital tunnel pain is like when you hit your funny bone because it is the inflamed nerve.
Carpal tunnel It starts when you have pressure on your median nerve. The carpal tunnel is the small passage near the bones and ligaments. When the median nerve is pressed, you will feel tingling and numbness in your thumb and fingers, as well as weakness in your hand and arm. Repeated hand movements cause carpal tunnel syndrome.
7 Common Smartphone Injuries
Many people use a smartphone without ever hurting themselves. But some people are more prone to injuries like these from smartphones.
1 – Smartphone elbow
Holding the elbow at a 90-degree angle for long periods of time can cause elbow pain. When you are on a long phone call, you can hold your cell phone close to your ear with your elbow bent at an angle. This puts pressure on the nerves, which decreases blood flow and causes inflammation. The elbow of the smartphone causes numbness and tingling. Try changing the way you hold your phone while on a call. Avoid holding the phone at a 90 degree angle. You may want to buy a hands-free device so you can talk on the phone without holding it.
2 – Little finger of the smartphone
Your poor little finger works hard when you’re on your phone. It supports much of the weight of the smartphone, sometimes for hours. This is called a smartphone pinky. This condition sounds funny, but it is not a laughing matter as it is very painful. The good news is that this injury is not permanent. Try taking a break from your smartphone to ease the pain in your little pinky. Try some stretching exercises periodically to stimulate blood flow and relax your fingers.
3 – Posture problems
You will probably check your emails, text messages, and catch up on your favorite sports team’s scores throughout the day. When you check your smartphone, if you sit or stand with your head tilted down and your shoulders hunched while looking at your smartphone, it can cause posture problems. Leaning your shoulders or bending your neck in a fun way puts pressure on your muscles. Try these good posture methods.
- Avoid hunching your shoulders.
- Sit up straight and upright.
- Keep your phone at eye level.
- Take frequent breaks from your smartphone.
- Stand up straight, and if you notice that you are slipping, correct your posture.
- Don’t arch your back.
- Relax your body when talking on the phone
4 – Wrist pain
Your smartphone is a great tool for staying connected with your friends and family, keeping up with work, and checking the latest news. Like so many good things, a smartphone has some negatives. Constant sliding, sliding, and touching can injure your wrist and hand. A recent study found that wrist pain is a common complaint from smartphone users. Excessive use of your phone creates repetitive motion that causes this pain and can result in actual disability in the wrist joint.
5 – Thumb pain from texting
Touchscreens make text message communication easy. But texting gives your thumb a real workout, as you use your thumbs to text. The tendon of the thumb can become inflamed from the repeated motion of texting. The swelling can lead to pain in the thumb and a clicking sound when bending the thumb. Better to give your thumbs a break. Try using other fingers to send text messages. If pain persists, talk to your doctor. They may give you a thumb splint that supports your thumb to relieve pain.
Excessive use of your smartphone can strain your eyes. Eyestrain can cause other problems, such as
- Less blinking – You need to blink to keep your eyeballs moist. Flickering is a natural protection against exposure to dust and sunlight. When you use your smartphone, you look at the phone without blinking and it gives your eyes less time to recover, so you can develop dry eyes.
- Squinting: When you read a small text on your phone, you are likely to squint. This puts pressure on the eyeballs and can cloud your vision.
- Glare: Smartphones have glare. Staring at a glaring screen for too long causes eyestrain.
How to avoid stress while using your smartphone
- Blink a lot to keep your eyes moist.
- Buy anti-glare film screen protectors for your phone to reduce glare.
- Take frequent breaks from your smartphone. Your eyes need a break from close reading.
- Adjust the brightness of your smartphone. Set your screen to a less bright setting to protect your eyes.
- Adjust the text size to give your eyes a break and make it easier to read on your smartphone.
- Keep your screen clean. Clean the screen to keep it free of dust and fingerprints. This improves the readability of your screen.
- Keep your smartphone further away from your face. Try to hold your phone at least 16 to 18 inches from your face. This reduces the strain on your eyes.
7 – Germs
You take your smartphone with you everywhere, like the store, the gym, and even the bathroom. It’s easy to forget that the germs you find in these places are transferred to your smartphone. One study discovered that smartphones are riddled with bacteria. These colonizations of bacteria are capable of spreading disease. Some pretty horrible bacteria live on your smartphone. So what nasty bacteria live on your smartphone?
If you carry your smartphone with you when you go to the bathroom, it is very likely that E. coli is communicating with the phone. These bacteria live in your intestines and are transferred to your stool. E. coli causes diarrhea, food poisoning, and other gastrointestinal problems. Don’t take your phone with you to the bathroom. It is tempting, but too risky. Make sure to wash your hands with soap and warm water every time you go to the bathroom. Dry your hands with a clean towel or paper towel.
This is another common bacteria found on smartphones. It causes strep throat in children, but it can also cause scarlet fever, necrotizing fasciitis, a carnivorous disease, or toxic shock syndrome.
The flu virus can live on your smartphone for up to 24 hours. Keep your phone clean to avoid getting the flu.
This common bacteria can live on smartphones. Certain strains of these bacteria are more dangerous than others. Skin infections are common, easily treated with antibiotics, but staph also causes MRSA, a more serious, life-threatening staph bacteria. It can lead to pneumonia and bloodstream infections.
Clean your smartphone every day to remove bacteria and germs. Use disinfectant wipes with at least 70% isopropyl alcohol. Use a soft cloth to clean it. Don’t get it too wet as it may damage your phone.
How to avoid smartphone injury?
Excessive use of your smartphone can cause injury. To avoid these injuries, there are a few things you can do every day. Most smartphone injuries can be simply prevented without excessive use. There are other suggestions to reduce injuries.
- Use a hands-free device.
- Wear headphones
- Change positions throughout the day.
- Wear a headset while on your smartphone.
- Try stretching during the day.
- Use hot or cold compresses to relieve pain.
- Don’t wait for the pain. Take a break before you feel pain.
- Change hands when talking on the phone.
- Larger phones are better, as your fingers can be extended better. The downside is that larger phones are heavier. The extra weight could cause injury.
Smartphones make your life easier, but you can be susceptible to injury if you use your smartphone the wrong way or too much. Not everyone experiences these injuries, but overuse can lead to neck, shoulder, or hand pain. Thumb and fingers get exercise when texting, scrolling and swiping all day. Excessive use of smartphones can also cause wrist pain, eyestrain, or posture problems. In addition to these injuries, your smartphone harbors many germs.
Bacteria like strep, staff infections, and E. coli are common bacteria found on smartphones. To avoid smartphone injuries, try stretching, changing positions throughout the day, and taking a break from your phone. Smartphones are wonderful amenities, but be sure to take care of yourself so you don’t end up with a long-term, painful injury.