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People Diagnosed With WhatsAppitis?

Last updated Sept. 9, 2015

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

Recent reports have created buzz that excessive text messaging can cause WhatsAppitis. The Lancent was the first to create such buzz.


Recent reports have created buzz that excessive text messaging can cause WhatsAppitis. The Lancent was the first to create such buzz.

An unidentified, 34-year old, pregnant woman who used her phone for more than six hours, applying "continuous movements with both thumbs to send messages," has been diagnosed with "WhatsAppitis," or wrist pain due to excessive use of the social messaging app, WhatsApp.

WhatsApp is an instant messaging service for smartphones that allows its users to send text messages, images, videos, and audio media messages for free for the first year when the sender and recipient download the app.

With no history of trauma and not having engaged in any "excessive physical activity in the previous days," the patient's strange repetitive stress injury was diagnosed as "WhatsAppitis" and Dr. Fernandez-Guerrero, from Granada's General University Hospital, banned the patient from using her smartphone.

"Because of the patient's pregnancy, X-rays were not taken to rule out rhizarthrosis [arthritis of the thumb]," the doctor said.

The doctor prescribed her with the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, acetaminophen, but the patient was not able to stay away from the phone app. 

Other predecessor conditions brought similar symptoms, such as Nintenditis and Tenosynovitis. Nintendinitis was first defined in 1990 when several injuries associated with video games and other technologies have been reported. Initially reported in children, such cases are now seen in adults. Tenosynovitis, caused by texting with mobile devices, could be a developing disease. 

"Tenosynovitis caused by texting with mobile phones could well be an emerging disease," Fernandez-Guerrero concluded. "Physicians need to be mindful of these new disorders." 

Additional Resource:

“WhatsAppitis”

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: April 2, 2014
Last updated: Sept. 9, 2015