Injuries from the wired age


June 5, 2009 at 1:05 a.m.
Updated June 6, 2009 at 1:06 a.m.

Ever share war stories with friends about scars and injuries collected during the halcyon days of youth? Like the time Carlos tried to jump over the water fountain in the park. He came away with a gash on his forehead that injured his pride more than anything else.

What do you think these conversations would be like in the future?

I imagine they would go something like this:

Were you there when Jaime got that really bad blister from playing Halo for 16 hours non-stop?

Did you see the knee guard Bianca had to wear after a collision with a lamp during a session of Wii Tennis?

See this arm sling I'm wearing? Victim of cell phone elbow.

You think I'm being funny, but I'm as serious as a Guitar Hero wrist-attack.

Earlier this week, I read various reports from CNN, Cnet and Scientific American about the latest affliction to the wired generation: cell phone elbow.

Symptoms for cell phone elbow, the medical term is cubital tunnel syndrome, include numbness, tingling or weakness in the hand, along with elbow pain. The affliction is caused by compression of the ulnar nerve, which occurs when bending the elbow tightly for long periods of time, such as when talking on a cell phone.

Cubital tunnel syndrome is nothing new, and it is not limited to cell phone users. For those suffering from cell phone elbow, it is recommended to use a hands free device, or to switch hands every few minutes. (Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on the Internet. If your injury or pain is serious, you should seek professional help.)

This latest affliction of the modern generation ranks up there with Wii-Knee (injuries sustained from excessive use of Nintendo's Wii), Blackberry Thumb (repetitive strain injury caused by frequent use of thumbs by Blackberry users) and Space-Invaders wrist (stiffness resulting from prolonged playing of the Atari video game). Who knows what future tech-related ailments await us.

Until next time, I have to put ice on my iPhone ear (mild irritation caused by prolonged use of the iPhone). Yes, I just made that up.

CJ Castillo is the interactivity editor for the Victoria Advocate. Questions about all things tech can be e-mailed to or sent care of Victoria Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.



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