A relatively large demographic of the internet recently freaked out a little bit about the health and wellness of their pinky fingers, specifically about something known as ‘iPhone pinky’ (or ‘phone pinky’/’smartphone pinky,’ to be more inclusive).
It all started with this random warning on Twitter that racked up over 50,000 retweets:
“I don’t know who needs to hear this,” @MrsBundrige wrote, “but, when you’re using your phone, stop using your pinky as an anchor. It’s destroying your wrist and aggravating your ulnar nerve.”
The pinky dent, it seems, is a pretty widespread phenomenon. Just take a look:
So the tweet got a lot of people talking about their iPhone pinky dents, first on Twitter and then through more mainstream media channels.
Ultimately, Dr. Ruba Katrajian, an osteopathic physician in New York City, New York told a BuzzFeed reporter who asked her about the issue that “smart phone pinky finger” is not a known medical condition (yet), and that the dent in the finger is most likely simply caused by “the weight of the phone.”
However, holding your phone this way actually does not damage your ulnar nerve, she asserted, nor any other part of your finger.
Which is a bit of a relief. Strain from phone overuse, however, can cause the very real medical conditions of trigger finger, and De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, so you should really be paying attention to your levels of phone usage and try to keep your screen time within reasonable limits.
Dr. Katrajian (and virtually all cell phone users who have heard of them) recommend using a phone grip or pop socket, as well to help reduce any strain. Also recommended but perhaps less immediately achievable is to go venture into the woods because, like the 19th-century transcendentalist and writer Henry David Thoreau, you simply wish to live deliberately. Just be sure to leave your cell phone behind at home when you do.