Leon E. Popovitz, MD
Top-Rated Orthopedic Surgeon
Specializing in Arthroscopic Surgery of the Shoulder & Knee.
For appointments 212.759.4553

The New York Bone Blog

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The Newest Tech Pain: “Selfie Elbow” – Is It A Real Thing?

Text neck, text thumb and iPad hand have all become common ailments over the past several years and all of these “conditions” seem to revolve around our incessant use of our phones, tablets and computers.  Now, we have another “condition” to add to the tech-med lexicon – “selfie elbow”.  That’s right, selfie elbow.  The term was coined last week by Today Show host Hoda Kotb after she told Elle Magazine that her doctor believes her elbow pain is the result of taking hundreds of selfies.

But is selfie elbow an actual medical condition or is Hoda just crazy?  Surprisingly, there is actual legitimacy to this condition but, it has less to do with our obsession with selfies and more to do with the biomechanics involved in taking a selfie.

Typically, most people extend their elbows all the way out in front of their body and then curl their wrist either inward or outward.  Simultaneously, they are squeezing the ends of the phone to keep a tight grip and make the phone stable.   The tendons that extend from the elbows and hand were not intended to undergo these motions for extended periods of time or repetitively in a short span of time.  

This unnatural motion and stress can lead to inflammation of the tendons, known as tendonitis.  When tendonitis affects the tendons of the elbow it is also commonly known as Tennis Elbow or Golfer’s Elbow.  Tendonitis can also affect the wrist and make it painful to grip or lift objects.   Another factor that can lead to tendonitis in the elbow and wrists is that our arms are constantly in use.  When we are at the office, we are using them to click, type, draw and write.  Once we are done at the office, we spend hours at night on our devices typing, texting and scrolling.

So while selfie elbow may become the newest tech buzzword, the condition is not new.  Thankfully, tendonitis is one of the most common conditions seen by Orthopedic Specialist and Physical Therapists and most cases subside with activity modification and physical therapy.

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NY Bone and Joint Specialists is a top rated, private Orthopedic and Sports Medicine practice in with locations in New York City, Hoboken and Englewood, NJ. The Orthopedic SurgeryPhysical Medicine & Rehabilitation, and Pain Management specialists routinely perform surgical and non-surgical treatments for professional athletes from across the United States and various other countries. 

Dr. Leon Popovitz and Dr. Michael Mizhiritsky, along with their team of best in class orthopedic physicians, are known for their exemplary orthopedic surgical skill and best rated physical medicine and rehabilitation program. This, along with their top in-office physical therapy and long-term sports rehabilitation processes, leads to athletes of all levels returning to their top physical potential. Contact us today to schedule a consult!

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