Do you have Blackberry Thumb?

All of us have had a repetitive motion injuries and probably never even thought about it, if you are playing a video game and your thumb get’s sore, referred to as “Gamer’s thumb”, you can take a break and come back and play again later until it get’s sore again. But some blackberry users are having the same kind of injuries using their little keyboards to stay in contact with customers, family, etc, and now it’s called “Blackberry Thumb”. These quotes from an article at

Chris Claypool was addicted to his BlackBerry wireless handheld. Like many users, he never thought twice about pecking away at lightning speed, replying to a wave of e-mails from clients around the globe. Last year, the 37-year-old agricultural sales director from Post Falls, Idaho, noticed a throbbing sensation in this thumbs whenever he typed.

He switched to tapping with his index finger, then his middle digit and finally his pinky. But his thumbs pained him to the point where he can’t even press the buttons on his TV remote control.

After months of aching, Claypool took a break. Now he only uses his BlackBerry to send short messages ? typing with the tip of a pencil eraser whenever his thumbs get sore.

These types of injuries are showing up more and more in the handheld world, as users get used to using their new little communication devices, such as the Blackberry, they type faster and use them more and more. But what do you do once your thumb is to sore to stay in touch like you are used to?

“If you’re trying to type ‘War and Peace’ with your thumbs, then you’re going to have a problem,” warned Alan Hedge, director of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Laboratory at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.

No national statistics exist on how many people suffer from this type of thumb ailment, but some doctors say they are seeing an upswing in related cases, said Dr. Stuart Hirsch, an orthopedist at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Paterson, N.J.

“It’s mostly the road warrior who prefers to answer e-mails on a thumb keyboard,” said Hirsch. “If all you did was just answer with a simple yes and no, it would not be a dilemma.”

So let this be a lesson to you, don’t get to wrapped using these little devices, keep the answers short and try to do most of your emailing from your desktop or laptop, because, once these injuries start it seems they come back quicker and quicker all of the time.

Earlier this year, the American Society of Hand Therapists issued a consumer alert, warning users of small electronic gadgets that heavy thumb use could lead to painful swelling of the sheath around the tendons in the thumb.

The group recommended taking frequent breaks during e-mailing and resting one’s arms on a pillow for support.

A booklet that ships with the Nintendo DS handheld system advises a 10 to 15 minute break for each hour of play, and a break of at least several hours if gamers experience wrist or hand soreness.

Specialists say the thumb ? considered by many as an island because it is set apart from the other fingers ? is among the least dexterous digit and is not meant to be rigorously worked out.

For people who insist on typing more than a sentence with their thumbs, external keyboards that connect to the gadgets may be a less painful alternative, said Dr. Jennifer Weiss, assistant professor of orthopedics at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

So there you go, avoid “Blackberry Thumb” to start with and you’ll be okay. Now, time to fire up the Xbox and see if I can make my thumb sore. ;) Oh, and there are treatment options, as this user below has learned.

Treatment for BlackBerry thumb may include wearing a splint and applying ice to the affected area. If the pain persists, doctors may opt to inject the thumb area with a cortisone shot. Surgery may be required as a last resort.

John Orminski, a 44-year-old information technology manager from Pontiac, Mich., went to a doctor in the spring after feeling a strain in his right thumb.

He recently started physical therapy for this thumb ? receiving electrical stimulation and massage to relax the muscles.