Repetitive stress injuries. It's a problem that plagues the technological world. One of the newest diagnoses? If it hurts, they say, stop. It's easy to laugh at and overlook these injuries so long as they happen to someone else. Up close and personal is another matter.
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Occupational hazards are no laughing matter, and while tennis players have their elbows, housemaids their knees and athletes their feet, iPod users are beginning to have their thumbs. That's right, doctors are beginning to talk of iPod-thumb. This condition is said to be caused by the hand movements that are required to work the wheel in order to navigate the long lists of songs and artists. According to Carl Irwin, from the British Chiropractic Association, "the action needed to move the wheel on an iPod is totally unnatural and effectively separates the joint in the thumb every time you use it. Jumping around through the 10, tracks on your Pod can be risky if you do it too often. The iPod is only the latest and perhaps one of the most famous hand-held devices to be pointed out for causing repetitive stress injury RSI.
We've already got some pretty raging cases of Tetris eye, tennis elbow, Space Invaders index finger, and runner's knee 'round the office, but iPod thumb? Not to be confused with BlackBerry thumb or PlayStation thumb, your little white friend could very well be the cause of discrete repetitive stress injury according to Carl Irwin of the British Chiropractic Association. He set the record straight for the Scotsman on Apple MP3 player inflicted pains: "The action needed to move the wheel on an iPod is totally unnatural and effectively separates the joint in the thumb every time you use it. Well, it makes sense really; we have been saying for years that the circular motion of the scroll wheel is at best mildly uncomfortable.
It could be time to discard the adage that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. With Apple Computer's iPod digital music player continuing to sell well, and the tiny iPod nano set to be one of the must-have gifts this Christmas, physicians are now warning that the first cases of a condition they are labelling "iPod finger" have started to emerge. Anecdotal evidence from GPs shows that iPod finger is similar to the pain sometimes caused by excessive text messaging on mobile phones, or by playing videogames too vigorously.