Shoulder & Mobility Articles & Videos.

The Real Concern of “Selfie Wrist”

What is Selfie Wrist? 

There has been reports in the media that doctors are increasingly treating people with “Selfie Wrist”- wrist pain supposedly caused by excessive selfie taking. Is there really such a thing?

This is not the first time a catchy name has been given to a pain condition, “Text Neck” did the rounds a little while ago and “Nurses’ Back”, “Netball Knee”, “Swimmer’s Shoulders”… etc have yet to fully disappear from our vernacular.

Personally, I don’t support demonising a movement because there is no such thing as bad movements, there are only movements you do not have movement capacity for.

Movement Capacity vs Demands of Movement

Movement capacity is a term I use to describe the sum of your mobility, strength, coordination, body awareness, spatial awareness, skill, endurance, motor control plus knowledge of the movement. When you do not have the appropriate movement capacity for any given movement, then you will naturally have a higher risk of injury than someone who is well conditioned for the same movement.

Even for someone who has a high capacity for a specific movement, it is still essential to consider the demand for that movement such as the amount and frequency of movement. Anyone doing too much of any activity without adequate recovery can end up in strife. Skill does not exempt one from pain and injuries.

There is no such thing as bad movements, there are only movements you do not have movement capacity for.
Selina @MoveMedics
Can You Really Get Selfie Wrist?

With that being said, it is fair to say that it is indeed possible for even the most elite selfie experts to selfie so much that they develop wrist pain. Right?

Sure, it IS possible. But… 

For an average healthy person (without any pre-existing injury or frailties from illness or medical conditions) to selfie so much that they exceed their capacity to manipulate a small object intermittently, they have got to be taking a bucket-tonne of selfies all day, everyday! If this is indeed the mechanism of injury, then the question that begs to be asked is: “Why are you taking so many selfies?”.

The Mental Health Implications

I am not a psychologist but if my patient presented to me with pain brought about by such a repetitive behaviour, I would want to understand what is driving this behaviour. Is it to boost their self esteem? Is it a form of escapism and if so, what from? Are they chasing likes and comments on social media for validation? Do they have a smart phone addiction? We know that people with poorer mental health are more likely to experience pain; how does this tie in with the need to selfie until your wrist hurts? These I believe, are the real concerns of “Selfie Wrist”.

Taking selfies is fun and having photos to reminisce about good times past is great. However, beyond the joys of photography and a seemingly innocuous case of wrist pain can lurk a shadow masking serious health concerns and these need to be addressed by the appropriate health professionals. We are very lucky here in Australia that we can access an invaluable tool for our wellbeing, the Mental Health Care Plan, through Medicare. If you need support for your mental wellbeing, please check in with your GP who will get the process started for you.

Beyond the joys of photography and a seemingly innocuous case of wrist pain can lurk a shadow masking serious mental health concerns.
Selina @MoveMedics
Tips for Healthy Selfie

So are there anything selfie enthusiasts can do for healthy enjoyment of selfie taking? Of course! There’re always some things you can do for self care so here’re a few tips for you:

Selfie taking, as simple a movement as it appears, does present with a few unique challenges:

  1. Phone size – Mobile phones can get pretty big these days and if you have a case as well it can weigh a bit.
  1. Unaccustomed positions – To capture that perfect selfie does require one to try out different poses and angles, you may end up twisting your wrist in all sorts of unusual positions, holding a small weight at an unaccustomed angle for an extended period of time can be a strain.
  1. Manicure – When you have long nails that extend well past your fingertips you are no longer able to use a strong, functional grip which means you most likely resort to awkward and weak grips for selfie activities.

With these in mind, I have the following suggestions for you:

  1. Use a timer – Set yourself a 10-second timer so you have time to frame your shot and don’t have to worry about wringing your hand to hit the trigger without dropping your phone.
  1. Take a video instead – Set your phone to record then take screenshots of your fav frames.
  1. Invest in a selfie stick – My fav is the Joby GripTight PRO TelePod (not an affiliate link). I mainly use it as a tripod on my desk to film videos for social media but the extended grip feature is strong and solid for selfies. It even comes with a bluetooth remote to trigger your shutter!

Happy snapping!

’Til next time, Be Free In Your Movement™.

B. Phty
This information is not medical advice. Got health concerns? Consult a real-life health professional.
Views are my own.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Selina Tannenberg

Selina Tannenberg

Selina is a health content creator-musician-physiotherapist based in Brisbane, Australia. She is the director of MoveMedics and its subsidiaries, Voice Physio and Pole Physio. She is passionate about dispelling misinformation, simplifying healthcare, and empowering people with evidence-based knowledge for healthy and pain-free living. She enjoys running, attempting handstands, Formula 1 Racing, and publishes music under her nom de plume, Asirus.

You May Also Like
Pole Physio Blog. Pole Injury Free After Lockdown

As we move onto Stage 2 restrictions in Oz and Pole Studios are set to reopen, here are 3 tips to help you Return to Pole Injury Free after almost 3 months off.

Read More
MoveMedics Blog. When Will Lockdown End

With the curve flattened, the question on everyone's mind is When Will Lockdown End? We explore the key elements in consideration and one possible approach.

Read More
MoveMedics Blog. Finding Your New Normal

Life as we know it has changed with the CoVID-19 Pandemic. Having a routine of your own choosing is reassuring during these challenging times. Here're 3 Tips to help you find your New Normal.

Read More
MoveMedics Blog. Is Physio Essential Service

Physio is deemed an essential service in Scott Morrison's latest announcement in business restrictions in the effort to slow the spread of CoVID-19. Is it really essential? Here're the 2 key questions.

Read More
MoveMedics Blog. CoVID19 Pandemic

At this point of the Corona Virus Pandemic, there is much uncertainty and confusion about what we should do in the community. This is a tricky and never-before-seen situation, and in times of uncertainty there may not be clear cut answers but we can always defer to common sense. Let’s take a look.

Read More
MoveMedics Blog. Selfie Wrist

What is Selfie Wrist?  There has been reports in the media that doctors are increasingly treating people with “Selfie Wrist”- wrist pain supposedly caused by excessive selfie taking. Is there really such a thing? This is not the first time a catchy name has been given to a pain condition, “Text Neck” did the rounds...

Read More
Pole Physio Blog. How To Handspring

The Foundation to Handspring Success The Handspring, aka Split Grip Ayesha, is a goal trick for a lot of pole dancers. Not only does the Handspring offer a great sense of achievement, it also opens the door to a lot of fun tricks, combos, and transitions. It is certainly one of those rite of passage tricks and...

Read More
Voice Physio Blog. Measure Vocal Load

Leveraging Sport Science Research Vocal load management is important for all voice users but it is such an abstract matter! How do you measure something so intangible and subjective? And even if you can quantify it, how do you actually use it to plan and manage your vocal load and to help prevent overuse issues?...

Read More
MoveMedics Blog. Does Movement Decline With Age

What Grade would you Give Your Movement? If you were to give your movement a grade right now, what grade would you give yourself? These are the things I want you to consider: Strength – Do you have the strength needed to do all the activities you want to do?  Mobility – Do you have the mobility needed to do...

Read More
Pole Physio Blog. Is Twisty Grip Evil

A Bad Reputation Twisty Grip is a very popular and useful grip in pole dancing. The Twisty Grip Handspring is also one of those rite of passage tricks that a lot of pole dancers dream to achieve. However, Twisty Grip has been blamed for causing many a shoulder injury. In fact, Twisty Grip has such...

Read More
Voice Physio Blog. Vocal Load Management. Technique Or Capacity

Good Technique Does Not Exempt You from Voice Injuries I came across this comment online recently: “If you have good vocal technique then you won’t have voice injuries”and I wholeheartedly disagree. Good technique is critical for voice health, that is for certain, but there is something equally as important as technique and that is vocal capacity....

Read More
MoveMedics Blog. Pain Does Not Mean Tissue Damage

The 4 Scenarios of Pain and Tissue Damage “Pain equals damage” is easily one of the biggest pain myths of all. No, pain does NOT equal damage. Let’s take a closer look. Where pain and tissue damage are concerned, there’re 4 possible scenarios. Scenario 1: No tissue damage. No pain. Scenario 2: Tissue damage. Pain Scenario 3: Tissue...

Read More

MoveMedics Digest

A Monthly Summary of All Our Articles in Your Inbox!

Scroll to Top
Nearly. Door

Nearly there...

We’ve sent you a confirmation email as per good email manners.
Please click the link in your email to finalise your subscription.
See you inside soon!

Don't Forget This!!!

Your FREE Subscription for MoveMedics Digest.

A monthly summary of all our awesome posts to help you Move Better, Feel Better, and Do What You Love, such as chasing puppies.

Where should we send it?