Texters Thumb

Do you use your phone a lot? Do you experience pain in your thumb or wrist when you use your phone? You may have a condition called texter’s thumb!

Texter’s thumb, also known as Blackberry thumb or gamers thumb, is a common term used to describe an overuse injury due to the repetitive motions of texting. The thumb is used effectively for gripping and manipulating objects, however when it performs functions such as text messaging on a smartphone constantly, there is a lot of repetitive stress being placed on thumb joint, muscles and tendons. The awkward movements of texting over a long period of time lead to pain, which may be persistent over a long period of time. Some other symptoms of texters thumb include:

  • Restricted movement or range of motion of the thumb
  • A decrease in grip strength
  • Unexplained stiffness
  • Experiencing a popping sound around the thumb joint or wrist

The continuous awkward movements created when using a smartphone can lead to changes that occur in the joints of the thumb. The tendons can become thick and swollen, bony changes occur and the ligaments around the joints become loose. All these changes result in the pain that is associated with texters thumb.

Texting is not the only culprit for causing thumb pain. The constant use of computers or video game controllers can contribute to the cause of texters thumb. Other causes such as poor posture when completing these activities can increase the likelihood of injury. Consequences of completing these technology-based activities are not only limited to the thumb. Research has suggested that these activities, especially when completed with poor posture can lead to pain in other areas of the body including the shoulder, elbow and back.

Therapists at Specialist On hand can help you manage your injury by creating a personalised treatment plan that will take into account your lifestyle. Some of the treatment options can include:

  • Pain management
  • Anti-inflammatory management
  • Activity modification and ergonomic education
  • Soft tissue massage and myofascial release
  • Wrist and hand orthotic regimes
  • Personalised exercise and strengthening programs
  • Postural re-education

If you have any of the symptoms mentioned don’t hesitate to contact us. We will help you with your injury and get you back to doing your regular activities as soon as possible.


Akkaya, N., Dogu, B., Ünlü, Z., Çarl, A. B., Akkaya, S., Tekin, L., & Özçakar, L. (2015). Ultrasonographic evaluation of the flexor pollicis longus tendon in frequent mobile phone texters. American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation,94(6), 444-448. https://doi.org/10.1097/PHM.0000000000000186

O’Sullivan, B. (2013). Beyond BlackBerry thumb. Canadian Medical Association Journal,185(4), E185-E186. https://doi.org/10.1503/cmaj.109-4395

Writer Prem Community (2018). How to deal with smartphone or texting thumb arthritis. Retrieved from http://www.proquest.com/docview/2063192453?accountid=10382

Picture: By Theranow Team, n.d.