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Psychology and Mental Health

Chicago, USA
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Effects of smartphone overuse on hand function, pinch strength and the median nerve

Author(s): Inal EE, Demirci K, Cetinturk A, Akgonul M, Savas S


In this study we investigated the flexor pollicis longus (FPL) tendon and median nerve in smartphone users by ultrasonography to assess the effects of smartphone addiction on the clinical and functional status of the hands. Methods: One hundred two students were divided into 3 groups: non-users, and high or low smartphone users. Smartphone Addiction Scale (SAS) scores and grip and pinch strengths were recorded. Pain in thumb movement and rest and hand function were evaluated on the visual analog scale (VAS) and the Duruöz Hand Index (DHI), respectively. The cross-sectional areas (CSAs) of the median nerve and the FPL tendon were calculated bilaterally using ultrasonography. Results: Significantly higher median nerve CSAs were observed in the dominant hands of the high smartphone users than in the non-dominant hands (P < 0.001). SAS scores correlated with VAS pain for movement and rest, DHI scores, and pinch strength (P < 0.05; r = 0.345, 0.272, 0.245, and 0.281, respectively). Conclusions: Smartphone overuse enlarges the median nerve, causes pain in the thumb, and decreases pinch strength and hand functions.

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