The Continued Use Of The Mobile Phone Is Changing Our Thumb
The habitual use of different technological devices such as video game consoles or the mobile phone is modifying our hand. From an evolutionary point of view, the anatomy and morphology of the hand have changed over time as a result of its use. The question now is whether the changes that the thumb is undergoing will leave an imprint as deep as in the past.
As we see it, the hand is not just a biomechanical structure that has bones, joints, muscles, muscles, ligaments, muscles, and receptors.
It constitutes a fundamental part of our body when it comes to interacting with the environment and participating in numerous activities that range from manipulation to communication.
Of the five fingers, the thumb is the most independent. It also differs in muscle kinetics, size, and strength. Not surprisingly, the thumb is the only finger of the hand that can be opposed. And that implies that it allows the hand to refine its grip to hold objects through the grip of the prey and the digital clamp.
Precisely the evolution of the hands of primates is closely related to their interaction with the environment in the strategies of grasping food, available resources and the manufacture of tools.
Some theories suggest that the first ancestors began studying the environment with their bare hands when a two-legged locomotive appeared 15 million years ago.
It may be that it was the bipedal position that caused hominids living at the end of the Miocene to free their hands, or it may be that the release of the hands was one of the consequences of adopting the upright bipedal gait. In any case, from an evolutionary point of view, the anatomy and morphology of the hand changed as a result of its use. For example, the long finger bones straightened because we no longer used them to grip trees.
As for the thumb, its length decreased and the possibility of opposing the rest of the fingers began to develop as they began to perform more precise tasks with the hands. Important changes, no doubt. Because let’s not forgotten, the evolution of the thumb has given our species the opportunity to evolve towards more complex activities.
And the changes continue. To this day, the musculoskeletal adaptations in the thumb continue to evolve based on the activity we perform and occupational needs. Without going any further, the performance of repeated movements of the thumb to handle the mobile, for example, has been related to the appearance of certain pathologies due to overuse . Specifically with thumb tendonitis due to overuse, also known by the term ” whatsAppitis “.
Recently, a preliminary study in which the University of Malaga, the Fondazione Don Carlo Gnocchi (Milan, Italy) and the Gannon University (Pennsylvania, USA) collaborated, concluded that the change in the activity and use of the thumb, especially among young people, could cause the appearance of pathologies and pain at the base of the thumb that was not typical at such an early age. This could be related, among other things, to the continued use of mobile phones, video games or touch screens and the lack of manipulation and dexterity activities at an early age. All this, added to the fact that the hours we dedicate to handwriting are reduced, makes us use our thumb less frequently or that we change the way we use it and recruit our muscles.
After coming down from the trees, the primate’s brain changed as it used its hands to perform different functions. The question that remains in the air is whether, in the long run, the changes that the thumb is undergoing by the continued use of mobile devices will leave an equally deep impression.