Dear Berry: Need some tips on thumb fatigue

Dear Berry
By Dear Berry on 4 Mar 2012 02:38 pm EST

Welcome back CrackBerry Nation to this week's edition of Dear Berry! With all of us here at Mobile Nations finishing up our Fitness Month Challenge, I decided this week's submission should also be about fitness and a common issue many of us avid Blackberry users suffer from. CrackBerry reader "J" wrote:

Dear Berry,
I bought my first BB(9900) about a month and a half ago, and since then I've developed a pretty healthy(?) addiction to it. I find that my twitter, email and IM frequencies have all increased, and I was just wondering if you had any tips on keeping my thumbs in shape?
Best regards,

Dear J,

I would definitely take a break here and there and give your thumbs a little rub down and do some stretching exercises (see below):

Rubber Band and Rubber Ball Exercises

Rubber ball and rubber band exercises are ideal for thumb pain caused by repetitive use, for typing, using a mouse or a key board. These exercise relieve stress, stretch the muscles and tendons around the base joint and web of the thumb. The simplest rubber band exercise involves wrapping an elastic band around your index finger and thumb. Move them away in opposite directions and let the thumb and finger come back together ( apply about 20 repetitions). For the next exercise wrap a rubber band around both thumbs and place your palms onto a table or other flat surface. Flex your thumbs in opposite directions away from each other (apply about 20 repetitions).

Thumb-Palm Exercise

To start, hold out your hand on its side, with the thumb and index finger on top. Keep your elbows bent. Next, move your thumb away from your palm until you feel a stretch or pull. Keep your thumb at the level of your index finger. Return the thumb to the palm and repeat.

Right-angle Thumb Stretch

Position your hand so that your palm is facing inwards and your thumb is on top and your little finger at the bottom. Keep your fingers straight and lightly press them together. Grab your thumb with the fingers of your other hand to gently pull your thumb upwards and away from your fingers to stretch it to a position at right angles to your fingers. Hold the stretch for a few seconds and repeat three times on each hand. You can apply tension in the thumb to help strengthen the muscles.


Remember CrackBerry Nation, Dear Berry is here to answer your questions no matter how small or silly they may seem. If you'd like to submit your Blackberry woes, email me at or you can find me on Twitter @DearBerryCB.

See you next week!

Reader comments

Dear Berry: Need some tips on thumb fatigue


1st..POW! lol.

when it comes to typing n the 9900, you don't need to press hard to type on it. they keyboard is like butter so just gliiiide over the letter and depress them gently. i've had a bb since 2007 and 90 percent of that time was with a bold or a curve keyboard and i find the new 9900 is the best bb keyboard to date. if you clench down on ur bb with a firm grip and type hard on it, you will get a hand cramp. Curves used to give me that but with this phone you don't need to do that. hold ur bb lightly using all ur fingers (index fingers hold the frame at the top, middle fingers under the display, next fingers under the keyboard and the pinkies kinda just caress the frame at the bottom of the phone), and type softly using ur thumbs. that way ur fingers will relax and just glide from letter to letter. and try not to rush while typing. if u type a lot, you gotta be relaxed as much as u can cause if u rush u will begin to clench and type hard causing cramps. Also there's an adjustment period regardless of how u type.


If this helps combat the ol' serious usage lower thumb (near wrist) pain then I'm in.

Re the above post - the 9900 is definitely better than any other BB I've used for avoiding thumb/wrist pain.

Daaaamn! That's my email! I wrote that to Dear Berry couple of weeks ago, and the response was really surprising in how thorough it was. Re: to the first poster, since I wrote the email, Ive tried using precisely the method you suggest, and it's been working flawlessly. Initially after buying my 9900, I was disappointed because I thought the keyboard would've been bigger (I must have gargantuan hands or something), but since growing accustomed to it, I've come to realize that no other phone could meet my demands better. I'm, simply put, one happy camper.

I always put my pointer fingers at the top of the phone like a triangle and then the thumbs are straight for the keyboard. No pain so far lol