November 26, 2007

Blackberry Thumb

photograph of a blackberryYou may have heard of Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI) in connection to computer (over)users, professional guitarists who has the habit of strumming frequently and in other occupations. It is often christened as Work Related Upper Limb Disorder (WRULD). They include Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), Tennis elbow, Golfer's elbow and others. For example, those of us who use the keyboard and mouse often, may suffer from CTS, where the median nerve is compressed within a tunnel, giving rise to pain in the hand and forearm.

With the advent of newer technologies, newer WRULDs are emerging. BlackBerry(s) are high end mobile phones which have a QWERTY keypad. People use it for emails and blogging, in addition to varieties of other applications the web offers. Gone are the days when we used the cell phones only for SMS ing, in addition to voice transfer, of course. People using Blackberry develop a typical RSI called the Blackberry Thumb. They use their thumbs to key in, and frequent use of their thumbs caused pain, paraesthesia (abnormal sensation) in the thumb. Some even had developed blisters in their thumbs.

So, to avoid this, you better use your thumbs alternately, avoid overuse and use ergonomically designed keypads. Else, you might end up paying a visit to your doctor!
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