Doctors from around the world are warning people about a new medical condition that can afflict anyone with a cellular phone.
It’s called “selfie wrist”, and according to Dr. Levi Harrison, a physician from San Francisco, it’s a growing concern.
Selfie wrist is a type of carpal tunnel syndrome that is characterized by a sharp pain or tingling sensation in the wrist, forearm, and thumb and ring fingers. Pain can extend all the way up the arm in extreme cases.
Getting selfie wrist mostly involves taking an excessive amount of selfies. Constantly holding the wrist inward while holding a phone can pinch the median nerve and cause numbness, while prolonged action can damage the nerve, causing muscle weakness and eventual atrophy of the muscles that activate the thumb.
Selfie wrist is not just a growing concern; it’s also a growing medical diagnosis. The Irish Medical Journal has published 4 cases where selfies have lead to injured or fractured wrists, although those cases are less about prolonged posturing of the wrist for a selfie and more about not paying attention to one’s surroundings while selfie-taking or taking selfies in an obviously dangerous situation, such as on a trampoline.
According to Statista, 62% of all Americans have taken a selfie at one point in their lives. You’d think that number would be significantly larger, but give it a few years and we’re sure we’ll hit the 100% soon enough.
Another number that we thought would be higher is the number of deaths attributed to selfie-taking. According to a study published in the National Institutes of Health, 259 deaths have been caused by selfies between October 2011 and November 2017 worldwide. India is the riskiest place to take a selfie, followed by Russia, the United States, and then Pakistan. China isn’t on this list, but that’s more likely due to a lack of data than a lack of deaths caused by selfies.
Drowning, falling out of transportation vehicles, and falling from heights are the most likely causes of death due to selfie-taking.