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Have you heard of text claw?

Reported by: Jessica Albert
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Updated: 11/29/2013 12:00 am
AMORY, Miss. (WTVA) -- Have you ever thought about how many text messages you send in a day?

Cousins Hope Woods and Austin Howell said they never really have, but when asked, they knew exactly how many they send.

Woods said she sends 400 to 500 a day, and Howell said he sends 600 to 800.

That number, they said, is typical for teenagers their age.

"I do think it is a lot, but I don't notice because I'm just used to texting," Woods said.

They both said their parents tell them they need to slow down on their cellphone usage.

Howell said his mother warns him of possible damage to his hands.

"Your fingers are going to get arthritis or carpal tunnel or something like that, but I don't usually listen to her because that's just how teenagers are," Howell said.

While these teenagers said texting is their preferred form of communication, many others have said they worry it will cause permanent damage known as text claw.

"Text claw is not a formal medical diagnosis," Doctor Eric V. Lewis said. "It's something I think you'll find on the Internet."

The orthopedic hand doctor said he thinks the pain some texters feel may be another form of a recognized condition.

"[It looks like a] modern day version of what was known as writer's cramp back in the days when the primary form of communication was with pen and paper," Lewis said.

Dr. Lewis said those who report pain usually feel it in their thumbs as it is the primary finger used in texting.

Woods said that's where she usually experiences pain.

"Cause I've been holding my handing in that position for so long that you just have that pain from it," Woods said.

So what does this pain feel like?

"More of a sharp pain or a deep ache of the muscles," Lewis said. "You may have pain that radiates along the path of the tendon."

Woods admitted she has thought about the long-term damage she may be doing to her hands.

"So I wonder, what if something actually does happen?" Woods said. "But it's not something that comes to my mind a lot, just unless I'm feeling pain, then I wonder."

Dr. Lewis said other doctors are worried about what long-term texting could do to a person's hands.

"Ten to 20 years of texting could cause quite a significant problem with the hand if it is not observed and if changes aren't made," Lewis said.

But Howell is hopeful that with time there may be a solution or treatment for these pains.

"Probably are already looking at something in case this does happen because you have so many people that don't worry about anything happening," Howell said.

Dr. Lewis said pain is the body's way of letting you know that something is wrong.

He recommended those experiencing it to take breaks from texting and added if the pain doesn't stop to take anti-inflammatory medications.

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