A common task most of us are doing much more of than ever before is texting. This is an extremely wonderful and useful communication tool, but just like any other repetitive motion our body performs, we may be placing certain tendons at risk of overuse if our constant rapid-fire texting continues without paying attention to our extremely mobile and intricate thumbs and wrists. At A2 Physical Therapy, we strive to educate and assist our patients in being proactive regarding their overall health. If texting is something you cannot imagine having to modify or discontinue, give your thumbs and wrists a little TLC today.
The precise movements of our thumbs work the tendons of two specific muscles (abductor pollicis longus and extensor pollicis brevis) which can become irritated from repeated friction and overuse, leading to inflammation and degeneration of the tendons and their sheaths (the membrane surrounding and protecting a tendon). This puts pressure on the tunnel through which they travel. At certain angles of wrist and thumb movements, such as when we’re texting and gliding our thumbs sideways, these two tendons are at an increased risk of becoming irritated and inflamed. Patients with Texting Thumb (clinically referred to as De Quervain disease) may experience swelling, nodules, and increased pain on the thumb side of the wrist. A simple way to a test for this condition is called the Finkelstein test. Simply clasp the thumb in the palm with all four fingers and rotate downward at the wrist joint. A positive Finkelstein test is indicated when pain is experienced on the thumb side of the wrist.
Cortisone injections, surgical release, and immobilization are all options if conservative management isn’t enough. Actions we can take in physical therapy to prevent worsening of Texting Thumb symptoms include:
Activity modification, icing, and avoiding repetitive thumb and wrist movements are also indicated for anyone who experiences discomfort with the Finklestein test. For Texting Thumb, prevention and early treatment are especially important since these affected tendons can take months to heal once irritated.
So, here’s the takeaway: Put the phone down, do a few comfortable wrist and thumb stretches, and remember these delicate tendons and strong joints were designed to move, but not necessarily in a fixed position across a 2 inch screen thousands of times a day. Here are a few gentle stretches to get you started. Perform at a slow and controlled speed for 10 repetitions with a 5 second hold.
"My wife was trying to get me to go to A2 after she was enjoying the classes. I am busy and wanted to go but always had an excuse. Well one she pre-paid for me to go. Time for me to face my fears about why I hadn’t been going because now I am going. First, I was in ok shape active just not work out shape plus what if I couldn’t beat my wife or the other women in class? What if I passed out?
As Saturday approached my fears rose and my brain searched for an excuse. Yet when I arrived at the class what I found was nothing like I was fearing, quite the opposite. Everyone is focused on their own pace. While being motivating Kristi is not forceful but positive and supportive, coaching each person at their ability.
It has not been a month of one day a week, my body has reacted by toning up, my six pack is back. My wife was mad and happy at the same time. I have been seeing a chiropractor for maintenance and recently my body is firming up and I do not feel the aches and pains of getting older. Was I sore after the first workout? Yes for a few days I was sore, but each week the soreness would decrease. After a month I am not sore but stiff the next day, feeling stronger each workout.
Thank you, A2 Physical Therapy and Kristi, for the good music and for pushing us without pressuring us."
"Kristi gives me a great positive feeling; to feel good bout myself. I have never been able to keep up on a food journal- now its easy. My personal goals are to have a decreased pulse rate, be fit, and take care of my heart. I come in on Wednedays at 5 am. Sometimes its hard to ge tout of bed, but I know I am working with someone (Kristi) who I am accountable too. Kristi is always so pleasant and never makes me feel ashamed of myself. A2 is a great place, each person is so positive. You learn to feel better by getting your mind to feel better first…. Think positive! I love this place, I will recommend each personto A2 either for PT or personal training. You guys are #1!"
"I began treatment with Alika after a back injury at work. I had already been out of work 3 weeks. Alika had an immediate impact on my back health and posture, providing more relief than I had felt with chiropractic/massage. Over the following month Alika used a unique spinal technique alongside other treatments and strengthening methods to improve my condition and get me back to work. I’ve been to several other clinics in my time as a competitive athlete and Alikas therapy coupled with his attentiveness to patients problems and injuries is second to none. Would highly recommend Alika and A2 PT to anyone with back issues or P.T. needs"