Selfie elbow: Do you have it?
First there was “text claw” and then came “iPad hand”. Now, a new medical condition is making the rounds called Selfie Elbow. According to an article in the Washington Post, it’s not all that funny.
Here’s what it reads in the WP, using Mary Ann Wilmarth, a doctor of physical therapy and spokesperson for the American Physical Therapy Association, to offer insight:
“Selfie elbow, she said, is similar to “tennis elbow” or “golfer's elbow,” which are names for conditions in which you experience inflammation in the tendons that run along your arm from your hand to your elbow.
Inflammation from taking selfies, Wilmarth said, happens because you're extending your arm but also trying to keep a firm grip on your phone as you do — something that the body just isn't designed to do often.
The problem with a lot of technology injuries, Wilmarth said, is overuse. “We saw this with the BlackBerries, when they came in — we had problems with BlackBerry thumb and everyone was having issues with that.”
Some experts do think that selfies can place an awkward, repetitive torque on the elbow’s ulnar collateral ligament and radial collateral ligament.
For years, doctors have warned us about how using technology badly (i.e. over using tech) can harm our bodies. As a result, some are concerned about the onset of tech related injuries in younger populations.
While most smartphones today are ergonomically designed and lightweight, some medical specialists think the awkward arm angles needed to take an ideal (“epic”) selfie has combined with a stunning volume of selfie-snapping to create a perfect orthopaedic storm.
Wilmarth suggests to readers that tightness in your arm can be worsened because when you are constantly snapping selfies.
There does appear to be some good news, according to Wilmarth, which may seem like common sense.
First, stop taking tons of selfies. Second, if you do have tightness in your wrists, elbows and shoulder, you can treat these with ice, wrist and shoulder rows and finally, rest.
Wilmarth also suggests: “Something as simple as extending your arm in front of you and bending your wrist gently and slowly up and down — with an extended palm and with a loose fist — could stretch the muscles that need attention.”
The Huffington Post ran a piece on how to ameliorate smartphone aches and pains with some simple approaches – something that might be worth checking out.
Obviously, if you are concerned about anything involving body pains and aches, it’s best to consult with your doctor.