Sunday, November 23, 2014

Tennis [elbow] Anyone?

My left elbow hurts like hell! It's not tennis elbow. I don't play tennis. It's not golf elbow. I haven't played golf for almost 2 years. I think it must be iPad elbow.

When I'd see kids playing games on their hand-held devices, thumbs flying across the tiny keyboards, I'd tell anyone who'd listen -- and that was usually no one -- that some time in the not-too-distant future, children would be born with over-sized thumbs and skinny little vestigial fingers. Sort of like the foreclaws on a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
The advent of the cell phone, or 'mobile' and the felt need of the modern homo sapien to inform as many people as possible about what one is doing, thinking of doing, or watching someone do, in less than or equal to 40 characters, as further exacerbated the use of hands and thumbs, and the prevalence of bad posture, to say nothing of inattention to one's on-going actions and surroundings in real space and time. This has lead not only to accidents, but, according to ergonomics specialists and orthopedics surgeons, aliments.

The musculoskeletal and other problems our preoccupation with our smart phones, tablets, and laptops, can range from the uncomfortable (like carpal tunnel syndrome, which can make triceps dips and other wrist-bending activities very unpleasant), to the more serious, like weakened vision, or something called De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, which is apparently when your thumb joints become so worn out, it becomes difficult to make a fist or hold things.

If you are experiencing:


  • Pain or tenderness in the outer part of your elbow (lateral epicondyle)
  • Gripping something with your hand causes slight discomfort in your outer elbow
  • You have difficulty keeping your arm straight
  • Your outer elbow muscle twitches when you keep your arm still
  • Weak grip strength
  • Threatening stares and/or gestures from people around you


  • You might do well to give yourself a break from your digital devices and take a long walk in the woods, listen to the bird song, feel the warm breeze on your cheek, and let your mind wander along with your body. After all, you can always go back and tweet about this unusual experience to your 'followers.' They might even retweet or favorite your tweet. Then you can place a bar of frozen peas over your aching hand, and later have them for dinner with mashed potatoes and roast chicken.

    1 comment:

    Lenora Good said...

    Well, you had me until we got to going for a long walk in the woods, listening to bird song, and feeling the warm breeze on my cheek. I'm still in Kennewick, what tropical paradise are you visiting? /snort/

    I am sorry, though, that your elbow is hurting.

    And, I think our thumbs will devolve into pencil thinned for the keypads, and the finger larger to hold the device. But I'll not live long enough to see it ;-)