Why does my thumb hurt while on my phone?

Why does my thumb hurt while on my phone?
Why does my thumb hurt while on my phone?

Why does my thumb hurt while on my phone is a common question we get as physical therapists.

Thumb pain while using a smartphone is a common complaint, and it can be caused by several factors:

  1. Repetitive Strain: The most common reason for thumb pain while using a phone is repetitive strain. Typing, swiping, and tapping on a smartphone screen for extended periods can strain the muscles and tendons in your thumb, leading to pain and discomfort.
  2. Thumb Overuse: If you use your smartphone extensively, especially for tasks like texting, gaming, or scrolling through social media, you might be overusing your thumb. Overuse can lead to inflammation and pain in the thumb joint.
  3. Poor Ergonomics: Holding your phone in an awkward or uncomfortable position can also contribute to thumb pain. If you’re constantly flexing or extending your thumb while using your phone, it can lead to discomfort.
  4. Phone Size: The size of your smartphone matters. Larger phones may require you to stretch your thumb further, which can strain the thumb joint. Likewise, smaller phones might require more precise movements, which can also lead to discomfort.
  5. Gripping Too Tightly: Gripping your phone too tightly can put additional stress on your thumb and hand muscles, leading to pain over time.
  6. Underlying Conditions: In some cases, underlying medical conditions such as arthritis or tendinitis can make your thumb more susceptible to pain when using a phone. If you have a pre-existing condition, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

To alleviate thumb pain while using your phone, you can try the following:

  1. Take Breaks: Give your thumb regular breaks from phone use to allow it to rest and recover.
  2. Use Voice Commands: When possible, use voice commands or dictation instead of typing.
  3. Change Hand Position: Experiment with different hand positions and grips to reduce strain on your thumb.
  4. Stretching Exercises: Perform gentle thumb and hand stretches to improve flexibility and reduce tension.
  5. Adjust Phone Settings: Make use of settings like auto-correct and predictive text to reduce the amount of typing you need to do.
  6. Use Accessories: Consider using a stylus or phone holder to reduce the strain on your thumb.
  7. Consult a Healthcare Professional: If the pain persists or worsens, it’s advisable to consult a physical therapist for a proper evaluation and guidance on managing the pain.

Remember that it’s essential to take care of your thumb health to prevent long-term issues. Adjusting your phone usage habits and using ergonomic practices can go a long way in reducing thumb pain.

Treatment options for a painful thumb

Physical therapists can discuss health exercise programs for you but more specifically, we can help if you have a weak or painful thumb. A systematic approach of proper testing to determine impairments, then manual therapy and muscular re-training is usually necessary to get better.

At PhysioFit of NC, we have the expert team in musculoskeletal conditions to help you to the fullest.

We provide a comprehensive treatment approach through our Grip Strength Program.  This includes manual therapy and exercises to improve finger and hand mobility and wrist stability. The primary goal of treatment is to address the underlying muscular imbalance issues and strength deficits causing thumb pain.

Don’t hesitate to contact us today so we can help you!