Children experiencing arthritis from spending too much time usin - KMOV.com

Children experiencing arthritis from spending too much time using technology

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) - A local orthopedic surgeon is noticing a physical problem developing with kids using technology that stems beyond issues with communicating with people without using technology.

Children are getting early stages of arthritis from texting and playing video games too much.

“They come in with stiffness.  They come in with a little bit of arthritis and it just progresses,” Dr. Rick Lehman of the U.S. Center for Sports Medicine said. “So now they’re 20 or 21-years-old and all of a sudden they’ve had four to five years of wrist pain, a little bit of swelling."  

“We’re treating these kids like we were treating 50-year-olds with overuse arthritis.”

Dr. Lehman says the youngest he’s heard of complaining about wrist and joint problems due to technology is 10-years-old.  

“That’s really not surprising at all.  When you think about the amount of time they are on their phone – if they’re using technology and add up all those hours – it’s a ton,” Ty Cochran said. “As a teacher, I see it all the time in the classroom.  It’s just constant.  If they have any free time at all it’s go to your phone right away.”

“You would think about that stuff when you’re 40 or in your 50s.  That’s when you start paying attention to it.  Not when you’re 12-years old,” Asmaa Hashimi said.

Dr. Lehman believes this is a parental problem for allowing children to be on their phones too much.  He says it is clearly an addiction because if you told kids they could not play their games or text they would get upset.  

The orthopedic surgeon says he has patients who are using technology for 10 or 12 hours a day.  Dr. Lehman recommends far less than that from a health standpoint.

“If you look at the numbers, (it’s) probably two hours a day,” Lehman says. “But there are kids who text two hours a day.  There are kids who do a thousand texts a day.  I think two hours is probably the safest.”

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