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Radiation from iPhone creating tingly thumbs
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Radiation from iPhone creating tingly thumbs

I got my iPhone about 5 months ago and use it quite frequently throughout the day, mostly to browse the internet. Recently I've noticed my thumb and index finger on my right hand (the fingers I use for my iPhone) have become really hot and tingly. I had to ice them last night. I understand the phone emits radiation, I'm just wondering what is the extent of it? Have I caused damage that will ultimately lead to cancer? I am investing in a stylus right away and will be using my phone much less.
Avatar_dr_m_tn
Thanks for using the forum. I am happy to address your questions, and my answer will be based on the information you provided here. Please make sure you recognize that this forum is for educational purposes only, and it does not substitute for a formal office visit with a doctor.

Without the ability to examine and obtain a history, I cannot tell you what the exact cause of the symptoms is. However I will try to provide you with some useful information.

There is no good evidence at the moment to suggest that phones emit radiation harmful enough to damage body cells significantly.

More likely what is going on is a kind of “compressive neuropathy”. It can happen because of holding your phone in certain positions for long periods of time. Nerves supplying your fingers can get compressed because of the angulation of your hand

A cause of tingling of the index finger and thumb is carpal tunnel syndrome. It usually also has sensory changes of the palm at the thumb, index and middle fingers, and the ring finger on the side near the middle finger. I am not sure if you have these other features or not, but I will elaborate on carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a compression/entrapment syndrome of the median nerve at the wrist. It usually results from excessive use of hands and occupational “microtrauma” (which is the most likely cause in your case).  Other causes include hypothyroidism, amylodosis, and arthritis to name a few. The sensory changes usually are worse at night. Patients may complain of having to shake their hand to wake it up. Over time, you may develop atrophy of muscles of the thumb supplied by the median nerve.

I would recommend that you follow up with your local neurologist if this continues to bother you. He/she will perform a specific neurological examination focused on the median nerve. The neurologist may also elect to perform an EMG/NCS to evaluate the motor and sensory components of the median nerve as it crosses the wrist.

Treatment options include surgical release of the carpal ligament at the wrist. However, less invasive procedure such as splinting of the wrist, which can be purchased at local drug stores, should be tried first. Medications are usually directed at the underlying cause and include NSAIDs such as ibuprofen.

Thank you for this opportunity to answer your questions, I hope you find the information I have provided useful, good luck.
5 Comments
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi! I'm not a doctor, but I came across your post & wanted to throw my 2-cents in b/c I have had this same problem with my own smartphone. Do you text a lot (I know I phone has an onscreen keyboard like my droid), but even browsing the internet, if you're using your thumbs or holding your phone a certain way...could cause what they call "gamers thumb". It's more recently been called "texters thumb" since you can get it from that too. The other thing I would mention is that carpal tunnel can also cause these symptoms. I started having the problem after using my phone more than usual & also the way I hold my hands over my laptop keyboard (with my wrists bent down). From personal experience, I tried a wrist brace for a few weeks & haven't had a problem since. Of course, now I'm more careful about how I hold my hands when using my cell phone or laptop. But you should definitely see your doctor to make sure you haven't done something else to your hand/thumb that might need different treatment.
Good luck!
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks for your help - except its not a carpal tunnel syndrome. My thumb is physically HOT and the radiation from the cellphone is affecting something. It hurts all day and its on the skin, not internally with any of my muscles or bones. Hopefully more research will be done within the next few year.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have the same issue. My phone gets really hot and causes my thumb to start getting hot and makes my thumb hurt and tingly but its not like ist a burn it anything
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Avatar_m_tn
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