Welcome to the Age of Selfie Elbow

It was only a matter of time. As our phones have morphed into our mirrors, and thence our windows to the world, the science of selfie-taking has grown ever more elaborate. Front-facing cameras have gotten sharper, clearer, brighter, and better. And that’s before you add the hobby shop of dedicated hardware you can buy to nail just the right angle.

But all this selfie sharing comes with a downside. (No, not that one.) The very act of holding the phone out at an odd angle while framing up frequent shots can take a toll on your elbow, as Hoda Kotb recently relayed:

“When you take the picture, your arm is up, bent in a weird way and you just click, click, click — think about how many you take: 20, 30, or 40. Selfie elbow, everyone has it!” she told Elle. . . .

I hear you asking these questions, so I’ll remind you that a UK study last year showed that young women spend five hours a week taking selfies.

This is in one sense repetitive stress like any other, but it seems we humans have found another new way to torture our elbows and joints in unnatural positions. Try it for a few minutes and you’ll see the problem: strain on the elbow and tendons creates instability and pressure, which can lead to chronic elbow pain.

What’s the answer? Turn the phone around and photograph the great world beyond your face. Or, failing that, make sure to rest and stretch often in between shots.

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