Doctors Seeing Increase of Patients with Cell Phone Elbow

‘cubital tunnel syndrome’ or ‘cell phone elbow’

They have been blamed for damaging hearing and exposing users to harmful radiation.  Now those who just can’t stop chatting into their handsets are facing a new menace – mobile phone elbow.

Users who hold the phone to their ear for long periods are at risk of developing a painful condition in their arm.

By bending their elbow too tightly, and for too long, they could overextend a main nerve.

As well as being painful, this can lead to tingling or numbness from the elbow to the fingers.

Orthopaedic specialists say they are seeing increasing numbers of patients with the condition.

They are advising mobile users to switch the handset from hand to hand every so often to prevent it.

The problem centres on the ulnar nerve, which extends underneath the funny bone and controls the ring and little finger.

If stretched repeatedly the nerve, which travels through the forearm and branches into the hand, can become weakened and scarred.

Blood flow to the nerve can also be restricted, resulting in the tingling.

Known in medical jargon as ‘cubital tunnel syndrome’, sufferers experience weakness in their hands and have difficulty opening jars, typing, writing or playing instruments.

In effect, the ulnar nerve is ‘stressed out’, according to Dr Leon Benson, an orthopaedic surgeon.

Doctors Seeing Increase of Patients with Cell Phone Elbow


Dr Benson, who is also the spokesman for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, added: ‘The more you bend it, for example when using a phone, the more it stretches. It diminishes the blood supply and the blood is not flowing through the nerves.

‘While the nerves are designed for stretching, it’s not normal to be in a position to be stretched for an hour.’

Severe cases of cubital tunnel syndrome can require surgery. But most require simple changes, such as changing hands on the phone.

Previous research has suggested too much texting can cause repetitive strain injury in fingers.

Another study found that using a mobile phone for more than an hour a day could damage hearing.

It said those who regularly use their mobile for longer find it harder to make out speech – with words starting with the letters s, f, h, t and z proving particularly troublesome.

Some experts claim radiation from mobile phones can affect thought processes and could even be linked to conditions such as epilepsy.

However, mobile phone manufacturers strongly deny this.

Via Daily Mail