Can using a cellphone cause hand pain?

Using a small hand held device such as a cell phone in not dangerous on your hands. There is no research to show that radiation or heat from a cell phone is harmful to the hands. However, there are three things that you can practice to ensure that your hands stay healthy:

1. Most people tend to have their elbows flexed when holding a smart phone or a hand held tablet (Ipad or a kindle) to browse the internet, read, or play a game of candy crush. This position can put a strain on the Ulnar nerve as it travels around the elbow.

This increases the tension and pressure around the ulnar nerve at an area around the elbow called the Cubital tunnel. This may then result in numbness, tingling, or a burning sensation along the outside aspect of the forearm as well as the small and ring fingers on the affected side. Some people may also experience cramping in their hands or a strange sensation at the elbow and/or forearm. The solution to this problem is to avoid prolonged and extreme flexion of the elbows. It is also a good practice to move your hands and elbow periodically when using your handheld device, and to alternate hands as often as possible.

If you experience symptoms while not using a cell phone, symptoms at night, symptoms upon arising, or if you have hand weakness, you should consult a hand surgeon to insure that your ulnar nerve is not impinged or compressed. This condition is known as Cubital Tunnel Syndrome and is the second most common impingement neuropathy in the hand after Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. The Fellowship trained hand surgeons at Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas have been treating this condition successfully with a variety of treatment modalities that may not require an operation. When surgery is necessary, they have been in the forefront of performing the operation with an endoscopic technique which only requires about a half inch incision.

2. If you experience numbness and tingling of your hand while talking on the phone, this may be a sign of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Numbness and tingling in your hands is one of the most common signs of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. The symptoms are present while holding a phone because prolonged grip does not allow the body to get rid of the excess body fluid which builds around the nerve from inflammation. The best way to avoid this problem is to consult a hand surgeon and get the appropriate treatment. Using a headset or a Bluetooth device may alleviate some of these symptoms, however treating the underlying condition is critical to ensure that your hands will stay healthy.

3. Some people tend to hold the phone in the same position for a prolonged period of time. This can put a strain on the small joints of the hand, as well as the tendons which move the hand and wrist. The best way to overcome this problem is to move your fingers and thumb periodically and avoid strong or tight grip of the device.

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The Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas offers diagnosis and treatment for hand, wrist, and elbow problems in Houston, using the most advanced and minimally invasive medical techniques. Our orthopedic hand specialists and hand and finger surgeons are waiting to provide you with excellent care at one of our hand care centers in River Oaks, Clear Lake, North Houston, Katy/Sugarland, or Baytown