Tags: cell phone elbow | causes | cures

Cell Phone Elbow Causes and Cures

Monday, 10 Aug 2009 09:17 AM

If you use a cell phone, you may develop cell phone elbow. The painful condition has grown so widespread that it is second only to carpal tunnel syndrome as a nerve compression syndrome, and it can lead to permanent damage and disability. It feels something like the pain felt when the “funny bone” in your elbow is hit, except those who suffer from it are far from amused.

The medical name for it is “cubital tunnel syndrome,” and doctors say it is caused by repetitive damage to the ulnar nerve, which passes through the cubital tunnel of muscle, ligament, and bone on the inside of the elbow. The syndrome arises when the ulnar nerve becomes irritated through direct injury or constant pressure caused by pulling, lifting, reaching, or bending especially beyond a 90 degree angle—such as when talking on a cell phone.

Symptoms include numbness in the small and ring fingers, and also clumsiness in the hand and thumb due to weakness, making it difficult, for instance, to open jars and bottles.

How many people are at risk of cell phone elbow? The latest figures from Cellular-News show that at the end of 2007, global cell phone users topped 3.3 billion, which means one of every two people on the planet uses a cell phone and could be a potential victim.

All those billions, however, are not likely to get cell phone elbow, according to Michael Hausman, chief of hand and elbow surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. In and interview with Scientific American, Hausman said, “There are hundreds of millions of people who talk on cell phones who are never symptomatic. Someone who gets this has a predisposition to have the problem. Some people are born with a little extra muscle that not everyone has, or they’re born with a narrower cubital tunnel.”

And the cure? All the experts agree that the single most effective treatment is to stop bending your elbow when you use a cell phone, which means switching to a hands-free headset or at least swapping hands while on the phone. Alternatives include various anti-inflammatory drugs and surgery.

Cell Phone Elbow Fact: If severe cases are left untreated, the little finger and ring finger can eventually curl up into a claw.

© HealthDay

   
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If you use a cell phone, you may develop cell phone elbow. The painful condition has grown so widespread that it is second only to carpal tunnel syndrome as a nerve compression syndrome, and it can lead to permanent damage and disability. It feels something like the pain felt when the “funny bone” i
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