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Texas Orthopedics, Sports & Rehabilitation Associates

Monday, August 8, 2016

Gamer's Thumb

If you're a parent, there's no way around it...your kids have likely spent entirely too much time on their tablets, smartphones and any other kind of electronic devices this summer.

But doctors have a warning: Too much time spent on handheld devices may lead to painful hand, and even neck and spine issues. Anone specific condition: 'Gamer's Thumb', also known as DeQuervain's tendonitis. It's caused by an inflammation of tendons connecting the wrist and thumb and is typically brought on by constant quick, repetitive thumb movements.

Symptoms of this include a shooting pain, clicking, locking, or tightening sensation in the thumb or wrist.

With summer coming to a close soon, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) suggests parents begin cutting back on screen time now in preparation for the start of school.

But for those last few moments of summer gaming joy, AAOS recommends the following tips:
  • Take breaks. Alternate gaming/screen time with a physical activity such as playing a sport or swimming. Also look into setting a timer to alert when it's time to take a break.
  • Use good posture. Sit in an upright chair that encourages good posture, as opposed to slouching, while sitting in front of a computer or television screen.
  • Stop gaming if there is any pain. Walk away completely from the device if there is any pain in the hand, neck, back, or vision becomes blurry. This is your body telling you it is time to stop.
  • Stretch. Perform gentle stretches by bending the tip of the thumb down toward the base of the index finger. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
If your child, however, experiences consistent or severe pain in their thumb/hand, please contact us for an appointment.

(Adapted from AAOS)

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