Banker Undergoes Surgery For Using iPhone Too Much

Tendons in a mortgage banker’s thumb became so inflamed from excessive iPhone use that she had to get the tendons surgically removed.

The woman spent up to 12 hours per day communicating with clients on her iPhone, eventually succumbing to pain, numbness, inflammation and tingling. “I’m texted out,” she said

Recovery time for hand surgery can take up to two months. So, instead of using her thumbs, she will now use the “hunt and peck” method of typing.

Woman recovering from “Blackberry thumb” surgery [WTSP via Clusterstock]


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  1. Mcshonky says:


    • INsano says:

      And a new catchphrase was born; “OT”.

      “Yeah, I saw him at the party in the corner just going mad with Swype…they didn’t find him until the next morning. Worst case of OT they said they’ve ever seen.”

  2. El_Fez says:

    I used to get the same sort of thing 30 years ago, playing my Atari 2600 for hours on end. Not quite as bad – but I had Gamer’s Thumb after 6 hours of Space Invaders. Of course I was able to figure out that “Hey, my hands hurt – I should probably quit!” well before the amputation point.

    • zandar says:

      at least you were doing something that had to be done in that manner. this lady could have easily dialed and talked. Or walked over. Or emailed. There’s no excuse for it. None.

    • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

      Small wonder why some games that the developers know you’ll be on for awhile prompt you periodically with “maybe it’s time you should take a break from this.” (I know Super Mario Galaxy 2 does this.) But this woman? Talk about over-OCD. I know typing things on an iP(whatever) isn’t the most comfortable of things to do. Hence the reason I bought a laptop with an actual keyboard to type on, rather than thumbing comments here on that iPod touch I used to do this on.

  3. LimoRules says:

    The tendons were removed, not her thumbs.

    • Villnius says:

      This is totally asinine. She was so clueless that she couldn’t put the damn phone down for a break when her hands started to ache. Then, because she was in such a frikkin’ hurry to get back on the iphone, she opted for invasive surgery that will probably screw up her dexterity and hand strength for years to come. I doubt the tendons were inflamed enough that they HAD to operate to avoid nerve damage — that’s pretty darned rare. Usually, you’re given the choice of taking anti-inflammatories and pain meds. Often, it’s not even steroids + oxycontin. It usually means aspirin + 3 or 4 months of leaving the damned phone in the holster.

      She couldn’t go without the iPain for 4 months?

  4. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Time to link your phone to gmail or Outlook or something so you can type on the computer when at your desk.

  5. cash_da_pibble says:

    is it a good idea to get tendons removed?
    Doesn’t that start to limit the strength and mobility of your thumbs?

  6. Snarkster says:

    Maybe she was holding it wrong?

  7. Buckus says:

    Uhm…keyboard anyone? The smartphone is a piss-poor interface for high-volume typing. That is all.

    • Posthaus says:

      Tell that to the millions of teens and tweens already typing texts at a furious rate. I almost wonder if this is harbinger of things to come, when these kids start aging.

      • TakingItSeriously is a Technopile says:

        Our local news station has already run several stories on the health impacts of excessive texting with young people. One of which was the early deterioration of their joints in their thumbs due to excessive use, and another was an issue with tendons.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I think the opposite would be true. A sensitive touchscreen keyboard doesn’t require the same kind of strength needed to punch buttons all day so there’s less impact on your fingers.

      • aloria says:

        It’s not about the impact on your fingers. It’s about getting RSI from doing the same, unnatural motion over and over again.

    • myCatCracksMeUp says:

      Just what I was thinking.

  8. Alvis says:

    Isn’t using just thumbs already hunt-and-peck typing? That’s what we called it when I used to type using just my index fingers.

  9. Watcher95 says:

    How is the fact that the woman is a mortgage banker even remotely relevant to the story at hand?

    • AK47 - Now with longer screen name! says:

      Well, if it hadn’t been there, I probably would’ve wondered, “What kind of hellish job makes you spend 12 hours per day communicating with clients on an iPhone?”

      • Aaronjk says:

        That’s the thing, NO job MAKES you spend 12 hours texting on your phone. This dummy should have been using the computer and email. Serves her right.

      • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

        Or better yet – how did the battery of said iPhone last 12 hours every day? Does she buy new iPhones every month (or have two of them, one charging while texting with the other? That alone will sure wear out a SIM card in a hurry having to swap them twice a day.) I said once again: buy a laptop with a real keyboard if you’re so desperate to communicate.

    • Gruppa says:

      How is the fact that it’s a woman even remotely relevant to the story at hand?

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        And for that matter, that is was an iPhone. Or even a smartphone. Or even the tendons to your thumb!! Okay, let’s just drop this to the most basic of needed information for this article:


    • nextyearsgirl says:

      Because she was texting/e-mailing at such a high volume because of her job? If it was “baker undergoes surgery for using iphone too much,” I’d have to wonder who the hell she was texting.

  10. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    I really have to say they deserve the punishment they inflicted on themself. For you to actually need surgery, you had to completely ignore likely weeks of pain in your thumbs that continued to escalate. By the end, it would have been similar to putting your hand on a hot stove despite the obvious pain from burning your hand.

    Some people just think they can’t possibly get injured, or simply think what their doing is somehow more important than their own health. And when those people get hurt – and they will – I have no sympathy for them.

    • Doubts42 says:


    • Coe-Stanza says:

      That’s quite a high horse you’re sitting on.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        *shrug* Your body is clearly telling you to stop. It’s not some subtle stomach pain or something – it’s very focused pain in your thumbs that is exacerbated when you text.

        It’s like that old joke: You tell the doctor “It hurts when I types texts.” Doctor: “So don’t do that.”

  11. soldstatic says:

    that’s what google voice is for. you can text everyone else from a real keyboard

  12. diasdiem says:

    It’s a PHONE, lady. You talk on them.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Good luck talking to four different clients about four different matters at the same time. I spent a grand total of 40 minutes talking on the phone this entire week. Meanwhile, I’ve sent about 200 texts.

  13. Muddie says:

    Story should read: “Woman who had previously undiagnosed carpal tunnel syndrome aggravates it to the point of surgery by using smart phone too much.”

  14. goldilockz says:

    Or you could, you know, talk on the phone.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Why talk on it, when you can just stare at it while torturing it with Chinese thumb pressure-point technique until you will it to do your bidding and have it communicate for you.

    • TakingItSeriously is a Technopile says:

      THIS +11111111111eleventyhundred!

  15. ChemicalFyre says:

    No way this is real. They wouldn’t remove tendons, which completely removes the advantage to having an opposable thumb, and what gives you the strength of your grip….

    Would they?

  16. diasdiem says:

    Reminds me of a blond joke I heard once:

    Q: Why are only 10% of blonds touch-typists?

    A: Because the rest are hunt ‘n peckers.

  17. jessjj347 says:

    Maybe there was an infection..?

  18. RxDude says:

    Alternate headline: “Dumbass suffers consequences for being a dumbass.”

  19. Harry_Greek says:

    Welcome to Obama’s Amer,… oh, wait – sorry. I read ‘mortage banker’ and something about them being harmed, so I figured he was doing something bad to our wonderful unflawed working Capitalist system.

    Carry on!

  20. Daverson says:

    Holy shit, the reporters from WTSP are stupid. And the other media outlets parroting this story are just as stupid.

    “Blackberry thumb” isn’t treated by removing the tendons. If the damage is severe, they might do a “tendon relocation.” But remove the tendons? Bullshit. Tendons attach muscles to bone; they can’t simply be removed to alleviate pain.

  21. rmorin says:

    Cue “Man/Women sues Apple for injured thumbs” lawsuit in 5,4,3,2,1 …..

    • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

      In this case, you may be right, as Apple’s skimpy “manuals” never warn you about excessive use of their products potentially causing RSI. Hence the reason why on any Logitech keyboard, for instance, you’ll find warnings everywhere about RSI on the box, in the manual, and on the bottom of the keyboard (where a sticker on the top will direct you to the warning on the bottom.) Same goes for Microsoft keyboards and any Nintendo system of late (turn on a Wii or a DS and you know what I’m talking about.) CYA, baby!

  22. zandar says:

    iType. it would be perfect for this situation.

  23. framitz says:

    Time to learn better communication skills along with some time management tips.

  24. pixiestix says:

    Which journalist originally covered this story? If a tendon is completely cut, movement of the bone connected to the tendon may be lost. A floppy thumb is your prognosis.

  25. Rena says:

    She’s clearly never played the NES. If any gadget could mess up your thumbs, with the 90° corners… >.>

  26. Trilby says:

    I have nothing but contempt for the people I see walking around staring at little screens instead of interacting with the real world. May they all fall into open manholes.

  27. visualplastik says:

    Virtual or not keyboards are on the way out. Bluetooth installed in your frontal lobe is the next big wave.