A patient has been diagnosed with 'bilateral wrist pain' induced by over-use of the messaging app
A patient has been diagnosed with 'bilateral wrist pain' induced by over-use of the messaging app

WhatsAppitis: Doctors say it's real and your thumbs are in danger

New diagnosis joins a venerable tradition of wrist- and thumb- injuries caused by our hapless addiction to hand-held technology

James Vincent
Thursday 27 March 2014 12:36
Comments

The prestigious medical journal The Lancet has declared that ‘WhatsAppitis’ is a credible disease after diagnosing a 34-year-old-patient with “bilateral wrist pain” induced by over-use of the messaging app.

The diagnosis from a Spanish physician says that the patient (ironically a doctor as well) spent a solid six hours on Christmas Day responding to messages from her family while on duty.

“She held her mobile phone, that weighed 130g, for at least six hours. During this time she made continuous movements with both thumbs to send messages,” writes Inés M Fernandez-Guerrero in the March edition of the journal.

The next morning that pregnant messaging-addict woke up with aching wrists. “The diagnosis for the bilateral wrist pain was WhatsAppitis,” writes Fernandez-Guerrero.

“The treatment consisted of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and complete abstinence from using the phone to send messages. “

The diagnosis may be a novelty but the pain shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise (especially to a doctor); do anything to excess and you’ll end up hurting something.

Indeed it seems that Fernandez-Guerrero sees a pattern emerging with addictive technology and repetitive movement, comparing WhatsAppitis to “so-called Nintendinitis” , a conditition first described by doctors in 1990 in response to the popularity of the GameBoy.

“Initially reported in children, such cases are now seen in adults,” warns Fernandez-Guerrero sternly. “Tenosynovitis caused by texting with mobile phones could well be an emerging disease. Physicians need to be mindful of these new disorders.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in