Selfie Wrist: A Serious Health Condition of The Digital Age!

Selfie wrist

Are you obsessed with clicking selfies and posting on social media? Be warned! A San Francisco-based physician Dr. Levi Harrison has alerted people about the impending danger selfie wrist caused when people use their phone cameras to take a picture of themselves. Carpel tunnel syndrome, text neck syndrome or eye strain due to our love affair with technology seems to have taken a back seat with the new health condition coined ‘selfie wrist’ by the renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. Harrison. When you are taking a selfie, you are flexing your wrist inward in a certain angle to get that picture-perfect shot. At times you might have to hold your phone for a certain long time thus straining the nerves and muscles of your wrist.

Kim Kardashian had also revealed back in September that doctors have diagnosed her with selfie wrist, a side-effect of taking too many selfies.

Cause of selfie wrist

‘Selfie Wrist’ is a type of carpal tunnel syndrome. When the median nerve in the wrist becomes pressed or squeezed due to holding the phone for too long, it causes carpal tunnel syndrome.

The Washington Post states about this tech-related injury, “inflammation from taking selfies…happens because you're extending your arm but also trying to keep a firm grip on your phone as you do — something that the body just isn't designed to do often.”

Leon Benson, MD, a hand surgeon at the Illinois Bone and Joint Institute says that our elbow is not designed to be flexed for an hour at a stretch. Our body is designed to keep moving around. Hence even while sleeping our brain works to move our body periodically so that it does not have to stay in one position throughout the night.

Symptoms of selfie wrist

The symptoms of ‘selfie wrist’ are similar to that of carpal tunnel syndrome.

  • Tingling or sharp pain in hands and fingers
  • Numbness in the wrist
  • Inflammation of the wrist

When you notice such uncomfortable symptoms that do not go off in a day or two, consider visiting your doctor. Dr. Harrison says that it is a rather serious problem and the number of cases of ‘selfie wrist’ will keep rising gradually among teenage girls and young women as they are the easy targets of photo-editing apps and technologies.

How to prevent selfie wrist?

Is it really necessary to take so many selfies and post it on social media? Most definitely not! But such practicality is difficult to make those understand who are obsessed with this habit. Attempting for that perfect selfie repeatedly while flexing the wrist make the nerves angry and cause a sore wrist. There are certain ways that Dr Harrison has suggested to control the stress on the wrist.

  • Try exercises like ‘flappers’ and ‘queen’s wave’ to stretch and relax the wrists.
  • Give your wrists a rest and tie a brace around the wrist
  • Apply an ice pack to soothe the swelling of wrists
  • Have anti-inflammatory medications.

A selfie is definitely not worth ruining the nerves of your wrist and going for a surgery. Control your selfie obsession, your wrist will thank you!


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