With all of the mini-keypad devices in our arsenal of technical gadgets, many users are experiencing a new form of tendonitis and joint disease currently referred to as “trigger thumb.” Loggers have experienced a similar problem for decades, as they aggravate their forefinger by operating the “trigger” on a chainsaw. Constant use of their forefinger results in a painful condition long known as “trigger finger.” I assume this is where the term “trigger thumb” came from.
Regardless of the origin of the term, “trigger thumb” is no laughing matter. It can develop into a very painful condition. More and more doctors are seeing patients with this condition. If the problem is not addressed early enough, it can develop into a degenerative condition with possible long-term disability.
So, how can we avoid “trigger thumb” and still get the benefits from our electronic gadgets? Here are some suggestions that a few of us might benefit from:
- Determine how important each use is. Do you really need to have that text conversation with a friend while shopping in a store—or driving?
- If you have to send a message, make it as short as possible. Don’t participate in long texting conversations.
- When you start to feel any pain or discomfort, stop using your device and rest as long as possible.
- If you already have a joint condition, like arthritis, don’t use your keypad any more than absolutely necessary.
- When all else fails, see your doctor. They may prescribe anything from rest to surgery, but, hopefully, the problem can be corrected.
- This last suggestion is the best of all—take a holiday! Put your devices in a drawer for a few days and do something out of the ordinary…like reading a book, going for long walks, or having face-to-face-conversations, and the like. This is not only good for your thumbs, but for your mind and your whole body as well.
I can’t imagine anyone giving up their electronic gadgets…we’ve come to rely on them too much…so we’ll just have to face the consequences. Maybe voice-recognition Blackberrys are just around the corner—of course that probably wouldn’t work while you’re texting during your boss’s staff meeting.