The 'selfie elbow' is the latest in tech injuries

People taking selfies during sunset on the rocks of Arpoador beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 4, 2016.
People taking selfies during sunset on the rocks of Arpoador beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 4, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

Selfie addicts take note. Overindulging can result in 'selfie elbow', a new term to add to growing list of tech injuries that have surfaced in recent years.

There is only one reported case so far, in American journalist Hoda Kotb, but the prevalence of selfies would suggest that there are many more undiagnosed cases in our midst.

Kotb, a popular TV anchor known for her love of selfies, has recently complained of an achy elbow.

When the 51-year-old consulted her orthopaedist, he asked if she was playing tennis or table tennis. It turned out that the pain was due to her constant selfie taking, said.

"When you take the picture, your arm is up, bent in a weird way and you just click, click, click-think about how many you take: 20, 30, or 40. Selfie elbow, everyone has it!" she told the fashion magazine.

It is a form of repetitive stress injury, similar to carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis, doctors told Elle.

Tendonitis occurs when the tendon becomes inflamed, while carpal tunnel is caused by the compression of the median nerve in the wrist, usually due to overuse of the hand.

Doctors told the magazine that more patients have come to them for tech-related injuries.

Earlier, doctors saw cases of 'Blackberry thumb', from overuse of the smart phone. The 'iPad hand' is another manifestation of such overuse. Gaming for long hours have also caused tendonitis.

"You get tennis elbow from playing too much tennis-or having poor form-and you get selfie elbow from taking too many selfies," said Dr Jordan Metzl, a sports medicine physician at New York's Hospital for Special Surgery. "You put too much stress on the muscle and it irritates the area where the muscle comes off the bone."

Selfie lovers can avoid such a predicament by switching the arms they use to snap their photos, he advised.

They can also use a selfie stick, or take photos the old-fashioned way - asking someone else to take the shot.

But if you do get 'selfie elbow', some painkillers, ice and some stretching should help alleviate the condition. Of course the cure would be to stop taking so many selfies.