Are you over using Mobile? Beware of RSI to protect your thumb!
Do you have mobile phone with touch screen? Are you using it frequently? Do you feel that smart phones made things easy? Be careful. It may be at the cost of your extensor pollicis longus tendinitis.
Now a days more patients came to Orthopaedicians with complaints of pain at the base of thumb. Most of them are young people, using big screen mobiles, having habit of texting frequently. They may not hear about their disease 'Repetitive stress injury' (RSI).
Some vigorous activities at base thumb cause minor small injuries to the thumb bone (proximal phalanx), joint (first metacarpo phalangeal joint) and adjacent muscles, tendons. If adequate rest provided it will heal with no consequences. But when repeated injuries with no time for healing happened, they cause damage to bones, muscles and tendons. The concept is small repeated injuries causes big damage over the time.
These multiple small injuries at single place causing damage are collectively called as " Repetitive Stress Injuries". It may happen any where in the body. These types of injuries commonly seen in Army persons, sports persons, and in some occupations. But now thumb is the target due to the vigorous use of first metacarpo phalangeal joint (MCPJ) which required for mobile phone operations. In 1990s 'Gamer's thumb' was an emerging disease due to the popularity of video games, now it may be the time for 'WhatsAppers Thumb'.
What are the symptoms? You may feel pain at the base of thumb after using mobile phones. In severe cases swelling and redness over there. Pain will be aggravated by the movements of thumb, more common in dominant hand(Ambidextrous texting – feel worry for you, pain in both hands). Rest will relieve the pain.
What Doctors will do? Rest is the main part of treatment. You may need abstinence from mobiles. Analgesics to relieve pain. Fermentation may be useful. In refractive patients local steroid injection will give good results.
Prevention Obviously – drop your mobile. Make your own limitations to protect your thumb. Otherwise no need of Drona to ask your thumb Eaklavyas.
Reputed medical journal Lancet, recently published an article named "WhatsAppitis". At now it may be the rare case, but in near future? Already there are joint replacement surgeries for thumb. As one my friend said, previously they were abusing knee leads to knee arthritis and replacements. Now all are abusing thumb. Who knows? In future thumb joint replacement surgery will be the famous one.