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Addicted to your smartphone? Why breaking that addiction could keep you texting long into the future.

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Our smart phones have become extensions of ourselves as we frequently use them to browse, text, type and swipe. The repetition from these activities can lead to pain or an injury to the hand.

The thumb is routinely affected as it is often used for typing and texting. This overuse can cause your thumb to experience aching, throbbing or cramping as its tendons are overused and become inflamed. This can cause you to develop conditions such as tendonitis or osteoarthritis of the thumb. To prevent these overuse injuries, Dr. Hervey Kimball, a hand and wrist specialist at NEBH suggests these tips on how to give your hands or fingers a break:

Put down your phone
If you’re experiencing hand or thumb pain, stop doing the action that is causing pain. You will want to repeatedly take breaks before resuming the activity.

Give your fingers or hands a rest
To give your fingers a break from texting try using a stylus or the voice activated feature on your phone. If you are able, try switching to the opposite hand to do the activity.

Change positions
The position that you hold your phone to text can also lead to injury. Holding the phone in the palm of your hand and using only one finger or thumb can keep your hand in an awkward position for long periods of time. This can be irritating and cause pain in your thumb or wrist. Try putting the phone on a table or flat surface and type from there.

To treat an overuse injury it is recommended that you rest the affected body part and use ice to treat the pain. If you have tried this and you’re still in pain, it may be time to see an orthopedic hand specialist and explore treatment options. These options could include injections to the inflamed tendons or wearing a splint around the afflicted fingers to restrain them. If you experience tingling, numbness, or a sharp shooting pain, consult an orthopedic expert.

Although you may feel a little lost without your phone, it is important to give your hands a rest so they can continue texting long into the future.

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