Teen Gets Carpal Tunnel from Texting

At her peak, Annie Levitz, 16, said she sent about 100 texts a day.

ByABC News
March 19, 2010, 9:47 AM

March 19, 2010— -- "What's Up?"



On their own, short text messages like those may seem harmless enough, but send 100 a day and you could land yourself at the doctor's office, facing the prospect of surgery.

Just ask Annie Levitz, a Chicago-area 16-year-old who's been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome. The reason? Too much texting.

Levitz said it started with shooting pains and tingly, numb sensations in her hands. When the condition started to interfere with her ability to grasp everyday objects, she and her family realized it was time to figure out what was going on.

"Enough dishes were broken that my parents and I really started to notice and decided to see a doctor," said Levitz, who lives in Mundelein, Ill.

She said her parents took her to see Dr. Sofia Aksentijevich, a local rheumatologist, in September. When the doctor diagnosed her with carpal tunnel syndrome, Levitz said she couldn't believe it.

"It just seemed ridiculous to me," she said. "But it's true."

Levita, a high school junior, said she sent about 100 text messages a day at her peak, which, according to a recent Nielsen study, is about average for an American teenager. In January, the media research firm reported that the average teenager sends 3,146 messages each month, or 10 messages every hour not spent in school or sleeping.

But living with the consequences of so much texting has forced her to scale back to 20 to 30 messages per day, Levitz said. Per doctor's orders she wears a brace on each hand at night (and sometimes during the day) and expects to undergo surgery as soon as she can fit it into her schedule.

"I definitely regret it," she said about her heavy texting. "It's painful, first of all. It's embarrassing wearing the braces, and having people know – it's not the greatest."

Her friends and classmates also couldn't believe that texting could lead to such a serious medical condition, she said. Some students in her science class called her "carpal tunnel girl," she said, but added, "it was all in good fun."