"The use of PDAs (personal digital assistants) is no longer limited to the eight hours spent in the workplace," said Margot Miller, president of the APTA's Occupational Health Special Interest Group. "More and more, people are depending on these devices to stay in touch with friends and family before and after the work day and on the weekends, as well as having access to work when they leave the office; that is where the heart of the problem lies."
Many people who used the device were middle-aged and this injury often aggravated their arthritis. "Because the keyboard of the PDA is so small, and because the thumb, which is the least dexterous part of the hand, is overtaxed (for faster typing), the risk of injury just skyrockets," Miller added.
The APTA says that taking breaks between using the device, keeping messages short, avoiding thumb-typing and using a support for the wrist may overcome these problems.