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U of M researchers: New data shows dramatic rise in a new form of tendinitis known as “selfie elbow”

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.”

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U of M expert: to avoid straining the joints and ligaments of your hand, stop pounding away at your cell phone

Here’s a statistic that might surprise you: Americans spend an estimated 2.7 hours a day on their cell phone. (For those of you actually reading this on your cell phone…maybe it’s not such a surprise.)

Last night, WCCO asked the question: is all this time on our smartphone starting to contribute to actual health issues?

As it turns out, the answer might be yes. WCCO outlined how hunching over your phone can disrupt the natural curve of your spine, and also talked to University of Minnesota Physician orthopaedic specialist Matthew Putnam, M.D., about “texting thumb” which essentially amounts to tendonitis of the thumb.

Putnam told WCCO that incessant texting with your thumbs can lead to trauma to the joints and ligaments in the hand.
Take a look at the video above for more.

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