Mobile elbow, just as it sounds, is an elbow injury that occurs when using a mobile phone. Mobile elbow can cause trouble in the hand and fingers and is caused by pressure on the elbow or prolonged unnatural stretching.
The most common cause of mobile elbow is to support the elbow against a hard surface.
Powerful use of mobile phone cause
Powerful use of mobile phones and reading is usually the underlying problem. It may also be related to other factors such as incorrect posture, certain physical tasks or the practice of sports where you place a strong pressure on the elbow.
Another type of mobile elbow is that caused by bending the elbow for over 90 degrees at long periods. When holding a mobile phone at that angle for long periods, it stretches the nerve that controls the little finger and the ring finger. The blood flow to the nerve is often suffocated, and it is especially longer periods in the unnatural angle that cause cellular elbow. It is important to listen to the body’s signs and stop stretching the arm when, for example, you feel the arm start to fall asleep or other types of numbness.
“Cubital Tunnel Syndrome”
An English term for mobile elbow that is sometimes used is “Cubital Tunnel Syndrome”. The term cubital tunnel syndrome is also sometimes used in Sweden.
This should not be confused with “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome” (another carpal tunnel syndrome in American), another problem affecting our hands and fingers.
Symptoms of mobile elbow
Some common symptoms of mobile elbow are:
- Impaired sensation and numbness
- Hard to stick your fingers out
- Difficulty bending the outer part of the little finger
- Rings in the ring finger and the little finger
Symptoms get worse over time and numbness becomes more common. For more severe symptoms, everyday finger movements, such as writing and opening jars, can be difficult. It may feel like you are weak and clumsy in your hands and fingers.
About the elbow and ulnar nerve
The nerve affected by the mobile elbow is called the ulnar nerve. It is a large nerve that goes from the elbow down to the forearm and hand. The main tasks of the ulnar nerve are to contribute with emotion and mobility to the smaller fingers. When the elbow bends or is exposed to pressure, the blood flow of the nerve can be throttled, and thus the opportunities for feeling and mobility it provides. Interesting to know about ulnar rice is that it is the same nerve that gives painful bumps when you hit the elbow.
Mobile elbow treatment
The prognosis of mobile elbow is good if you stop causing pressure on the elbow and/or bend the elbow nerve to the maximum on repeated occasions. The symptoms usually disappear after a few weeks. Handsfree can be a good option if you have to talk on the phone for extended periods. There are also different types of support rails for the arm that may be helpful. Prescription-free painkillers help against any pain.
Usually, the trouble disappears over time when you avoid loading the elbow incorrectly. In exceptional cases, surgery may be needed. Surgery occurs mainly if the muscles between the index finger and thumb have disappeared.