What Is Selfie Elbow?
Selfie elbow occurs when the tendons in the elbow become inflamed. The symptoms are similar to those of other related conditions such as tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow. The moniker “selfie elbow” points to the fact that the biomechanics of taking a selfie can legitimately lead to issues in the arms, as surprising as this might be.
When taking a selfie, the user extends the arm in front of the body while curling the wrist and gripping the end of the phone. This puts the tendons running between the elbow and the hand in an unnatural position. If this position is held for an extended period of time or performed repetitively, it can lead to inflammation and irritation.
Selfie Elbow Symptoms
The first sign of selfie elbow is pain or discomfort when taking a selfie, but you’ll likely experience irritation while gripping or lifting other objects as well. You may feel a twinge or dull ache in the arm, or see mild swelling. This can be exacerbated by everyday activities that use the same tendons, like typing and texting, and further worsened by sports that require the use of the elbow and forearm.
Selfie Elbow Treatment
Although selfie elbow may not sound like a serious condition, persistent overuse of the arm can lead to tendon rupture or tendonitis. To avoid degenerating the tendons, you should be sure to consult with an orthopedic specialist if rest, anti-inflammatory medication, and icing the area do not improve your symptoms within a week or two.
For persistent selfie elbow, your doctor may provide cortisone shots, and will likely suggest physical therapy. Your physical therapist can guide you through exercises to strengthen the area and improve blood flow, which speeds healing time.
Selfie Elbow Recovery Time
Your recovery time will depend on the damage already done to your tendons. Your symptoms are likely to improve within a few weeks, although tendons can be slow to heal. If your condition is more serious, full rehabilitation can take six months to a year.
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