Monday, April 23, 2007
Thumbing your way to arthritis
13-year-old Morgan Pozgar wins the texting championship
A 13-year-old girl won the National Texting Championship over the weekend. Morgan Pozgar from Claysburg, Pennsylvania, beat hundreds of other competitors of all ages by texting this phrase in 42 seconds:

"Supercalifragilisticexpialidocios! Even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious. If you say it loud enough you'll always sound precocious."

Even though my fingers ached just thinking about it, I did try texting the phrase on my alphanumeric keypad. I gave up after two minutes. I would have easily lost to Morgan who thumbed her way to victory and $25,000. (Full Story)

As Morgan rejoices in her keypad domination, I realize I'm beginning to pay a higher price for all those years of clicking away - first on Atari, then Nintendo, Sega, remote controls, and most recently my best friend, the Blackberry.

It's unofficially called Blackberry thumb. It's an ache and pain, sometimes throbbing in your thumbs. Officially, the diagnosis is tendonitis or inflammation of the tendons. The thumb, with one fewer joint than the rest of the fingers, is more sensitive to stress than the four other jointed fingers. Just as carpal tunnel syndrome sidelined keyboard users and forced some of them into braces, thousands of Blackberry and PDA users are showing up in orthopedists' offices around the country.

So why is it that Morgan isn't feeling the pressure, and my weary digits are feeling the pinch? Young people are at lower risk because their joints are still filled with fluid. Dr. Keith Raskin of New York University says that the elderly or people with a history of arthritis or tendonitis are at higher risk for Blackberry thumb.

Although I'm far from qualifying as elderly, I asked for a few tips on avoiding the ailment. Raskin suggests typing with the wrists in a neutral position with the thumbs resting freely without stress. He also says there is good news: "If patients reduce the workload, the symptoms will resolve."

So between videogames, texting and "Blackberrying," is this next generation facing a lifetime of Blackberry thumb? Do you text as a regular way to communicate? Why text over calling? Have you had any texting-related ailments? Is it changing the way we interact--for better or worse?
Small Bone Innovations offers a minimally invasive procedure to treat the ailment mentioned above. By implanting its Artelon technology in the CMC joint in the thumb the procedure addresses Osteoarthritis often resulting from "Blackberry Thumb". www.totalsmallbone.
I've had great success reducing Blackberry thumb through a simple procedure... I stopped using my Blackberry so much and deleted the games.
For me, I've found the secret to having no blackberry thumb. I communicate the old fashioned way...Chit chat endlessly. At the end of the day, I might be a little hoarse, but my thumbs are in pretty could shape. Take Care
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