Have you ever suffered from stinging hand pains or numbness in your hand from typing on a cell phone? If you have, you are not alone. Around 25% of the students at Francis Howell High School in St. Charles, MO are right there with you.

            These “hand pains” are becoming progressively recognized as a common problem, WebMD states, as more patients complain about suffering the symptoms of this condition. It has recently been described as the Blackberry Thumb Syndrome. It does sound silly, but is it serious?

 “Blackberry Thumb is a real syndrome, but it is not a huge problem,” says Joseph G. Anstey, an Internal Medicine M.D., in his office at Missouri Baptist Medical Center. “Even though it is not a huge problem, people have been recognizing it more than before” adds Anstey.

“Whenever my hand pains come, it is when I’m using my phone all day for texting,” says Kevin Flynn, a Francis Howell High School student. “I just slow down when I’m typing and the hand pains go away.”

On September 2010, 250 students at Francis Howell High School were surveyed on daily cell phone usage and the effects it causes. The survey found that one in four claim to have suffered from multiple hand pains within a one-month period from overuse. One half of that 25% admitted to having a Blackberry as their daily cell phone.

“Students that suffer from this recently common syndrome are constantly gaming or surfing the web on these new high tech devices, and are all complaining of the same pains,” adds Anstey.

This hand pain is a form of Repetitive Strain Injury caused by the overuse of thumbs to press buttons on devices such as Iphones, Blackberrys, and Nintendos, says WebMD. Symptoms include tingling and numbness in the thumb or joints of the hand due to the lack of dexterity in the thumb fingers. The muscles in the thumb are found to be not near as strong as they are in the other four fingers, which causes the strained feeling.

“Repetitive movement syndromes are very relatively common. In the old days, people used to get it from anything, even typing on full keypads,” says Anstey.

“The only harm it can cause is leading to arthritis, tendonitis, or trigger finger, but it would take a lot of damage to get there,” adds Anstey. MayoClinic.com states that tendonitis is the inflammation of a tendon, similar to trigger finger, which is when a finger catches in a bent position from overuse.

“The way to cure it is to soften the stroke so people can’t press so hard with their thumbs while texting,” says Anstey.            

If the pain persists, treatments include topical steroids. Doctors, including Anstey, are suggesting pain killers such as Aleve and Tylenol. In rare situations, people can get shots of injected steroids or surgery, but we all know, the only real cure for it is to put the phone down.



  1. Great job! I’m impressed by the diversity of your sources- an interview with the doctor, WebMD, a student that has experienced "Blackberry thumb", and your own survey. I’m curious to know how many people this "syndrome" affects here in the US, and around the world.

  2. This was a very interesting topic. I would never have thought such a problem could occur from texting. Great job, hope to see more articles from you in the future.

  3. Nice job taylor it really cool to see a classmate like you on this website your a smartone ha well good topic and great article see you in class

  4. This is interesting because I had no idea this was a real syndrome. plus it is a good topic because cell phones and texting are a big part of teens lives. good job 🙂