Man texting on mobile phone

Does your thumb ever bother you from texting too much?

You aren't alone. Here's some insight on "texting thumb" – more commonly known as "gamer's thumb." In fact, "texting thumb" and "cell phone elbow are the two most frequently searched tech-related conditions in the U.S."

Texting thumb might sound humorous, but it can be painful and serious. In fact, pain related to the thumb is the most frequently searched for tech-related injury, with monthly searches close to 100,000, according to a report by ImagineMD. This repetitive stress injury is caused by tapping, gripping, and swiping too much, while using a video game controller or a screen on your smartphone.

Thumb strain is generally placed into two categories: thumb arthritis or trigger thumb. Trigger thumb occurs when a tendon that controls thumb motions becomes overworked and constricted, while thumb arthritis is centered on the joint where the thumb connects to the wrist. Both trigger thumb and thumb arthritis can be painful, but trigger thumb is temporary and less severe, while arthritis of the thumb is serious and can require surgery.

Here are some tips for what you can do to help fix texting thumb:

  • Let your thumb rest.
  • Change how you type on your phone, such as switching between hands regularly or let your thumb take a break by typing with your pointer finger while holding your phone with your other hand.
  • Use ice to ease the pain.
  • Our team may suggest a cortisone shot in particularly dire cases. This can help loosen things up a bit but also requires a visit to the doctor.

If your pain worsens over time, despite earnest efforts to rest your thumbs, we encourage you to talk with our team at POA.

Patient Education Center