The Latest Bogeyman of Hand Pain: Smartphone Pinky

As an orthopedic surgeon, I spend a good deal of time assisting patients with pain in the hand and wrist. Some of these cases arise from sports injuries, but many more occur as a result of daily overuse, leading to repetitive stress. All well-known conditions with reliable paths to recovery.

But now a brand-new condition is making the rounds on social media this month: “smartphone pinky.” Predicated on the notion that balancing a phone on your pinky is harmful over the long term, this supposed disfigurement inspired a storm of media attention.

Alas, it’s probably all an urban legend. As one surgeon put it:

“It would be pretty hard to deform any of your fingers just by holding a cell phone,” she says adding that it would probably take many years of gripping a phone really hard to make any noticeable change. “As a hand surgeon, I think it’s more likely there’s something going on here to begin with, another condition, that they didn’t realize [they had] and thought it might be related to the phone.”

Needless to say, we have plenty of actual work-related injuries to worry about before we start spilling ink on an invented pinkie ailment.

If you have lasting hand or wrist pain and want an expert opinion, contact Dr Bill Holland for the best orthopedic care in San Diego.

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