You love your gigantic Samsung Galaxy Note 7, but it might be too big to hold on to. Twitter users have been sharing photos of how their pinky fingers are bent, dented, and deformed thanks to too-big smartphones. Popular Science suggests these dents are temporary, but surgeon Rachael Rohde warns that these dents could be a sign of a different condition of Dupuytren’s contracture. Which causes specific tissues in the hand to stiffen. Either way, it’s probably something you should get checked out.
The fix: Even if this condition is temporary, maybe it’s time to stop holding your phone so long that you end up with a dent in your finger.
Tech neck sounds stupid. The strain you put on your neck by angling your head down. And check texts on the sly is genuine. New York back surgeon Kenneth Hansraj has found that tilting your head down at a 45-degree angle puts approximately 49 pounds of force on your neck. While tilting your head at a 60-degree angle puts 60 pounds of pressure on your neck.
The fix: Hold your phone as close to eye level as possible. Your boss won’t thank you when you do this in the middle of a board meeting. But your spinal cord will!
A study conducted in 2013 found that 84 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds were already experiencing lower back pain. Let’s repeat that: 18 to 24-year-olds. The lousy posture was slouching, slumping, and hunching over handheld devices and laptops.
The fix: Straight from your mother. Stand up straight!
For some reason, we’re so excited to take in tweets, texts, and all the information the Internet offers that we stop blinking when we look at screens. Which leads to dry eyes and poor-quality tears. This might not seem like such a bad thing, except that infrequent blinking dry eyes cause unnecessary eye strain, not to mention a higher risk of eye problems and infections.
The fix: Blink, damn it!
The eye problem is real; it’s not just dry eyes that you have to worry about. According to optician Hepworth, the blue-violet light your smartphone or other screens give off could put you at a greater risk for macular degeneration. Eventually leading to blindness. And squinting at a relatively tiny smartphone screen can cause visual fatigue, blurriness, and even temporary blindness.
The fix: Turn down the brightness, turn up the text size, and take frequent breaks. Ultimately, suppose screens are a part of your life. In that case, there may not be much you can do to prevent macular degeneration caused by blue-violet light.
You’re not alone if you’re feeling pain cramping in your fingers. The informal term is text claw, but what you’re actually feeling is probably a repetitive strain injury from using your hands so often. The good news is that you’d feel this way even if you used your hands for something else. It’s not smartphone specific.
The fix: Several methods for treating RSIs, including immobilization, stretching, massage, and not using your phone so frequently, take advantage of your phone’s many hands-free options.
Cell Phone Elbow
You’ve heard of carpal tunnel syndrome, but there’s another nerve compression syndrome that could affect you, called Cubital tunnel syndrome. Cubital tunnel syndrome, or cell phone elbow, affects your forearm elbow. Supposing you’re experiencing pain, tingling, or numbness that runs up the outside edge of your arm. But not in your wrist. Which is why you ruled out carpal tunnel syndrome. In that case, cubital tunnel syndrome might be the culprit.
The fix: Cubital tunnel syndrome can be caused by prolonged elbow flexing. You can help prevent it by not flexing your elbow as often. Switching hands frequently and using hands-free options on your phone is also a good idea.
Too much texting, tapping, and forceful phone-gripping with your thumbs can lead to thumb problems like trigger thumb. Painful popping and snapping when the thumb bends straighten, or thumb arthritis.
The fix: Don’t make your thumbs do all the work. Text with your fingers, too!