On an average, a person spends well beyond five hours on a smartphone, every day. Due to the lockdown, idle time has increased which has led to drastic increase in the number of screen time.
With this, there is a rise in the number of users complaining about developing a deformity in their little finger or also known as the 'pinky finger'. Here, the pinky finger bears the weight of the smartphone for prolonged hours leading to a condition that occurs when the little finger bends on the dominant hand - called 'smart phone pinky', informs Dr Sachin Bhonsle, Sr. Consultant, Orthopedic Surgeon, Fortis Hospital Mulund.
Regular use of phones, especially the one with a bigger and wider screen to type messages or emails causes the thumb and the other fingers to be over-used, through repetitive movements. Short term, this causes hypermobility of the smaller joints around the fingers; the ligaments of the thumb gradually become slightly stressed, he says.
"Looking at this long term, over-use of the fingers causes stress in a repetitive manner and can further lead to osteoarthritis, as the cartilage between the joints begins to degenerate. When arthritis sets in the fingers, there is a possibility of excess bone formation around the joints, which can then lead to enlargement or deformation of the finger," Dr Bhonsle explains.
Although this isn't extremely damaging to one's health, there are other factors in play that would influence the rates of degenerative change on joints such as - diet, family history and underlying health conditions.
He suggests few tips to keep away from the 'smartphone pinky'.
Avoid using the smart phone too often
If you are using it, use it for shorter durations
Divide texting or gaming time into shorter sessions
Take a break and put down your phone before your hand starts hurting
Exercise your hand by stretching your fingers
Instead of typing, use swipe keyboard or use speech
Use a stand for your mobile phone or airplay the content on TV
If your hand is hurting, take an over-the-counter pain reliever to reduce swelling and inflammation
Switch hands at periodic intervals, so the device isn't held in one hand for a long time
These should help you to get rid of the issue, if not seek medical help. Be reasonable while using your phone to bring down the stress on the joints and tendons of the hands.
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