“My thumb hurts: did I steal too much?” | NOW

Every week Edwin de Vaal, general practitioner in Nijmegen, answers a frequently asked or suspicious question from his practice. This week it is: I have pain in my thumb joint, did I wipe too much?

I have pain in my thumb joint. Is that wear and tear?

“Usually not. Certainly if you are under fifty there is probably no sign of wear and tear. I have seen this complaint quite a lot over the past few years. Especially with young people. In almost all cases it is something called WhatsApp or a swipe thumb. “”

What’s this?

“It’s a variant of RSI: Injuries caused by repetitive strain. Well-known are the tennis elbow and the mouse arm. Frequent repetitive movements overload the tendon joint.”

“Use the phone more often for what it was originally intended for: calling each other.”

How then is the thumb overloaded?

“We live in times that are very different from the world of our distant ancestors. We spend a lot of time behind computers and use modern technology. Our surroundings have changed, but our bodies are still the same as our ancestors’ bodies. Just like.” our thumbs: they are made to pick up and hold something, not to type or swipe a screen. “

“Repeating this movement very often – which the thumb is not intended to do – can irritate the tendons around the joint. This irritation can cause the tissue to become inflamed, swollen and injured.”

What can you do about a WhatsApp thumb?

“When you have discomfort, your body actually says, ouch, you shouldn’t do this. It can help cool the painful area down. Of course, the most important thing is to give your thumb a break, which is very difficult at times because of work. “

And what can we do to prevent this?

Always maintain a good working posture. Avoid holding the phone in the hand you are navigating as this will put extra pressure on muscles and joints. So hold the phone in one hand and navigate with the other She left and right. Turn right. Use the phone more often for what it was originally intended to do: to make a call. “