Extensor Pollicis Longus Injury in Addition to De Quervain's with Text Messaging on Mobile Phones

J Clin Diagn Res. 2014 Nov;8(11):LC01-4. doi: 10.7860/JCDR/2014/8304.5094. Epub 2014 Nov 20.


Objective: To do a clinical and ultrasonic evaluation of subjects with thumb pain with text messaging.

Background: Thumbs are commonly used for text messaging, which are not as well designed for fine manipulative or dexterous work. Repetitive use as in text messaging can lead to the injury to the tendons of the thumb.

Materials and methods: Ninety eight students with symptoms of Repetitive Strain Type of injuries of the thumb were selected from a survey and evaluated both clinically and by ultrasound analysis of the musculotendinous unit of the thumb to note changes due to excessive use of the mobile phone. Age and sex matched controls were also subjected to ultrasound evaluation.

Results: Clinical examination showed positive Finkelstein test in 40% of the cases, significant reduction in the lateral and tip pinch strengths in the cases. Ultrasound detected changes in the first and the third compartments in 19% of the cases.

Conclusion: Isolated cases of pain in the thumb have been reported but this study noted changes both clinically and by ultrasound in the tendons of the thumb. These changes should be taken as warning signs of possible subclinical changes taking place in the soft tissues of the thumb in these subjects due to repetitive use of mobile phones and thus, making them prone for developing painful Musculoskeletal Disorders.

Application: Repetitive use of mobile phones for text messaging can lead to the damage of Extensor pollicis longus of the thumb in addition to the tendons of the first compartment of the wrist.

Keywords: AbPL; EPB; EPL; Mobile phones; Thumb pain.