'Selfie Wrist' injuries becoming more common, doctor says

Denise Dador Image
Thursday, December 20, 2018
'Selfie Wrist' injuries becoming more common, doctor says
Some doctors are treating people for "Selfie Wrist," a form of carpal tunnel that results from taking too many pictures.

It's a sign of the times - and maybe a sign of our culture.

People are taking so many selfies, they're getting "Selfie Wrist."

One local doctor tells us how to recognize the signs and symptoms and has expert advice on what you can do.

Selfies help you capture how you look and feel at a given moment.

Tina Choi, 29, works in digital media promotion.

For her clients, she says a successful selfie can raise their profile and income.

Choi believes selfies are an effective way of sharing a sense of yourself.

"Its really about telling a story. Where you're at. What you're doing. How active you are," Choi said.

But all that selfie taking started causing tingling in her fingers and wrist and later discomfort. After a few months she said it felt like a sharp pain in the corner of her wrist and it actually would prevent her from working.

Choi is one of a growing number of patients that orthopedic surgeon Dr. Levi Harrison is treating for a condition he calls "Selfie Wrist."

"It's a form of carpal tunnel," Harrison said. "What happens is the nerve becomes inflamed and angry."

Harrison said the problem begins when patients constantly hyper-flex their wrist inwards in a rush to capture that perfect angle.

"You're right in the moment. Let's take a picture right now and that's what happens," he said.

Harrison taught Tina how to hold her phone without too much bend in her wrist.

Next, he showed her exercises to do for just minutes a day.

He slowly rotates his wrists and says, "Just around the world for a set of 20 and then back around the world for another set of 20."

Then do the same movements with semi-closed wrists.

You can also try what he calls "flappers" and the "queen's wave."

After a few weeks, Tina's pain improved. Now she takes much safer selfies.

"That is the nature of our generation right now," she said, "We're taking so many selfies these days."