Doctors Warn of ‘Mobile Phone Elbow’

15-12-2011 10:12 AM

First there was a risk of repetitive strain injury from texting, and now doctors have warned that chatting for extended periods of time can leave you with a new ailment – mobile phone elbow.

Too much mobile phone use can lead to an overextension nerves, and painful condition which leaves a tingling or numb sensation from the elbow to the fingers, according to orthopaedic specialists. They are reporting cases of mobile phone elbow, in which patients damage a main nerve in their arm by bending their elbows too tightly for too long.

When mobile phone users hold the phone to their ears, they stretch the ulnar nerve that extends underneath the funny bone and controls ring and little finger.

Chatting for a long time in that position can restrict the blood supply to the nerve, leading to a tingling sensation.

When that happens, the advice is to switch hands before it gets worse.

The condition is known to doctors as cubital tunnel syndrome and sufferers experience weakness in their hands and have difficulty opening jars, typing, writing, or playing instruments.

Constant mobile phone use could “stress out the ulnar nerves,” said Dr Leon Benson, an orthopaedic surgeon and spokesman for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

The ulnar nerve, which travels through the forearm and branches into the hand, can become weakened and scarred after being stretched repeatedly.

“The more you bend it, for example when using a phone, the more it stretches,” said Dr Benson. “It diminishes the blood supply, and the blood is not flowing through the nerves.”

“While the nerves are designed for stretching, “it##s not normal to be in a position to be stretched for an hour.” People with severe cases of cubital tunnel syndrome can require surgery. But most cases require simple changes, such as changing hands when using the phone. (Daily Telegraph)


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