SELFIE ELBOW : Selfie addiction causes this medical condition

SELFIE ELBOW : Selfie addiction causes this medical condition


Are you addicted to taking selfies ? Be warned if you or someone you know is an avid selfie-taker since capturing that perfect selfie can put you at risk of developing ‘SELFIE ELBOW’.

There’s so much more to a selfie than just a ‘face’. You have selfies at the gym, selfies in the car, selfies at different eating joints or traveling, with friends, with pets etc. Taking selfies has become an addiction and a real trend now. All thanks to the social media which plays a major role in our selfie-obsessed culture. According to research, over 17 million selfies are uploaded every week on social media. A handful of “hearts” and flattering comments can instantly lift our moods to super-model status, and we continue to upload and share all day. Isn’t it true?

This smartphone obsession has already lead to variety of well-documented tech injuries like text claw, iPad hand and even tendinitis of the thumbs. “Selfie elbow” is the latest one among them.

Chal beta selfie lele re!!! But #thisisnotaselfie #sonastylefile

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It is basically called as an overuse injury. Repeated, sustained, small movements – like holding a smartphone in-front of you and taking lots of shots, can cause repeated micro-trauma to the muscles and tendons that you’re using. In the case of selfie elbow, this would be to the forearm/wrist muscles.

Selfie elbow is a whole lot like TENNIS ELBOW. An addiction to selfie-taking can cause a pain in your primary pic-snapping elbow. It happens because you’re extending your arm, but also trying to keep a firm grip on your phone. You put too much stress on the muscle and it irritates the area where the muscle comes off the bone and you get this inflammatory response.


There is only one reported case so far. American journalist Hoda Kotb, a popular TV anchor known for her love of selfies, has recently complained of an achy elbow. But the prevalence of selfies would suggest that there are many more undiagnosed cases in our midst.

Kotb, an award-winning journalist on the US show Today with 320,000 Instagram followers, told – “I went to the orthopedist and he said, ‘Are you playing tennis or ping-pong?’ And of course I’m not, so I told him I was taking selfies. “When you take the picture, your arm is up, bent in a weird way and you just click, click, click—think about how many you take: 20, 30, or 40. Selfie elbow, everyone has it!” she says, laughing.


From snapchatting and gaming to selfie-taking, texting and tweeting, younger generation is getting more prone to overuse injuries than ever before. But is selfie elbow that dangerous ? No, not really. And it won’t affect everybody. There are several other factors (such as diet, family history and underlying health) in play that would influence the rates of degenerative change in joints. Let’s check out what could be the treatment for this medical condition.

  • First of all it’s very important to recognise that when a part of your body hurts, you should stop doing whatever it is that’s making it hurt. So if you feel pain in your elbow and you know that too much of selfies are the main concern, stop taking so many blithering selfies to take the pressure off the elbow.
  • Selfie lovers can avoid such a predicament by switching the arms they use to snap their photos.
  • They can also use a selfie stick, or take photos the old-fashioned way – asking someone else to take the shot. (I know fun would be missing in that case.)
  • Take pain relievers or over the counter medicines like Advil or Motrin for the inflammation.
  • For further details of treatment involving ice, stretching and strengthening exercises, you can read here : How to prevent and treat – TENNIS ELBOW

Comments (2)

  1. Dr. Seema this is indeed a good coverage of most talk about Selfie Elbow. A lot of people are talking about it but very few what is it. I am sure everyone, who reads this detailed article, will think about health first and selfie afterwards.

    Great detailed coverage Dr Seema.

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