Blackberry Thumb

When I was a kid growing up in downtown Philly, getting a black eye was a cool right of passage. Now, blackberry thumb is the hip ailment that is growing in popularity -- same for iPod finger.

Blackberry thumb and iPod finger are overuse-related tendinitis in the hand that occur from repetitive thumbing and finger use with small handheld devices that have grown exponentially in terms of popularity. In the past, when video games just hit the scene, we saw "nintendonitis." Similar ailments are now seen in the thumb and other fingers in those who peck away at laptops not known for their good ergonomics. Instant messenger addicts get "texting tendinitis" and cell phone junkies have "numb thumb." Carpal tunnel syndrome too is on the rise. With new technology comes new ailments.

Fortunately, these problems are usually not serious and do respond to some simple measures including avoiding the handhelds for a few days and taking Advil or Aleve. Ice or heat and some stretching help as well.

My best advice is to try to prevent it completely by taking frequent breaks and stretching regularly. Better yet, pick up the phone to make direct contact with your friends and colleagues -- or is that too passé?