Another night browsing the web on my iPad – Another night of wrist pain. I look down to see my hand cocked in some nightmarish position that couldn’t have possibly existed before five or six years ago. Yikes! I am a Certified Hand Therapist. I know better.
DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis is a common overuse injury and has been colloquially named “New Mommy Wrist,” due to many new mothers noticing a localized pain on the radial (thumb side) of wrist after the baby arrives. Although many attribute this pain as one of many discomforts our bodies experience over time, this is likely due to poor body mechanics when lifting an infant, as it is postpartum hormonal instability. Something as routine as a floppy head or a long reach into the crib can cause a mom to assume an awkward wrist bend. That awkward thumb stretched (wrist flexion/thumb abducted) position can simply be caused by lifting a baby.
The same basic body mechanics can be applied to using touch screens. Follow these tips to avoid pain:
Treatment for DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis mirrors that of many inflammatory injuries:
Besides these corrections, a hand therapist can address body mechanics to try preventing injuries in the future. For a new mom, improved posture may include bringing the wrist into a neutral position when lifting a baby under the arm, and changing the manner in which she is providing the newborn’s head support to decrease excessive wrist and thumb motion.
A quick literature search did not bring up any “hits” when referring to tablet usage and DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis. But I know I’m not the only one out there. If the next time you’re scrolling on your tablet, and you have a noticeable wrist pain, check the position of your wrist. Now you know better.
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