September 5, 2018
Today everyone uses their phone to text people dozens of times a day. This is an awkward position for the wrist and thumb, and it can cause strain on the thumb to the point that you can feel pain in the area. Many call this discomfort “text thumb,” although it’s actually a condition known as De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis. Usually, this pain resolves after a 20-minute break from using the phone. If the pain continues after rest, it’s time to see your doctor.
De Quervain’s is caused by inflammation of the tendons on the thumb side of the wrist. Typically patients feel pain, burning, spasms, or experience difficulty when moving the thumb.
Text thumb is most common in women and after pregnancy due to hormonal shifts. Recently, however, we are seeing more cases in teens due to excessive texting.
Several treatment options include rest, ice, physical therapy to strengthen the muscles, or topical anti-inflammatories. If all else fails you may need to consider steroid shots and, in rare cases, surgery.
While it’s a lot easier to shoot a quick text, sometimes it’s better to actually give a quick call to give your thumb a rest!