Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Hand FAQ


My family laughs but I've developed what my doctor said was "Blackberry thumb." It's very painful and it's keeping me from doing the things I enjoy doing, like golf and play computer games. Is there anything I can do other than stop using my Blackberry - which I can't because I need it for work?


So-called Blackberry thumb is a new repetitive stress injury that doctors are seeing, not just among business people who use the Blackberries, but in people as young as their teens because of their cell phone and text messaging use. As with any RSI, the best thing to help it is to stop the action that is causing it. You can use ice to relieve the pain, and if the pain is severe, take over-the-counter anti-inflammatories if your doctor hasn't advised you not to. If you feel you still must use the device, here are some tips to help reduce the risk of developing or worsening Blackberry thumb: - Don't use the Blackberry or any other similar device all day long. It wasn't meant for that type of use. - If you must send a long or several messages, do so in short periods. Write out a quick message and take a break. - During the breaks, do something else with your hands to move the thumbs in different directions. Also stretch your hands and arms. Joyce Y.P. Wong, MMed.Sc. Time Off Work in Hand Injury Patients. In Journal of Hand Surgery. June 2008. Volume 33. No. 5. Pp. 718-725.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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