BlackBerry thumbs

BlackBerry thumbs

Move over, carpal tunnel syndrome, an Associated Press story this week reported that some owners of BlackBerry devices, such as the RIM BlackBerry 7290 , are using their handsets to the point of exhaustion. Similar to "gamers' thumb," the "BlackBerry thumb" is a repetitive stress injury resulting from long periods of pecking away at a tiny QWERTY keyboard. Frequent typists are reporting a throbbing sensation that, for some, eventually made their digits almost immovable. They got their dexterity back only by going cold turkey and giving their thumbs a rest. And don't think the BlackBerry is the only smart phone causing the condition; it's supposedly striking Palm Treo 650 and T-Mobile Sidekick users as well. Apparently, the thumb is not as dexterous as the other fingers and is not meant for rigorous movement. While RIM says its devices are ergonomically designed, a spokesman admitted that as with any other device, overuse of a BlackBerry is possible. There are no statistics on the number of BlackBerry thumbs, but the American Society of Hand Therapists has issued a consumer advisory.

About the author

Senior Managing Editor Kent German leads the CNET Reviews editors in San Francisco. A veteran of CNET since 2003, he still writes about the wireless industry and occasionally his passion for commercial aviation.


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