If you’ve spent any amount of time on social media sites like Instagram or Facebook over the past year, you’ve likely witnessed firsthand the rise of the “selfie.” Now, a new analysis by University of Minnesota orthopaedic surgeons shows the seemingly harmless trend may not be so harmless after all.
In a study published today in the journal Human Medicine, U of M researchers present data linking a recent rise in elbow injuries to the practice of taking a selfie, which the experts say places awkward, repetitive torque on the elbow’s ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) and radial collateral ligament (RCL).
“Years ago, we saw a rise in stress-related injuries that became known as ‘texting thumb’ – basically a form of tendinitis,” said Jeffrey Macalena, M.D., an assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery in the University of Minnesota Medical School. “Now, young patients are pouring into our clinics complaining of elbow soreness that we’ve pinpointed to the rising selfie trend. We’re calling it selfie elbow, and it can be fairly serious.”