Wrist motion is distinct between touch screen and manual or digital devices
Background Restricted motion during touch screen device use may contribute to wrist overuse injuries. Wrist radioulnar deviation and extension while using touch screen devices and digital or manual counterparts in male and female medical professional dominant and non-dominant hands were quantified to test the hypothesis that mobile touch screen device use reduces wrist motion. Methods An active motion detection system was used to record wrist motion of 12 participants while: tablet swiping and turning book pages; raising a cell and traditional phone to the ear; texting and typing; and entering numbers on a cell phone and manual calculator. Medial and lateral wrist surface range of motion (ROM) and minimum and maximum wrist radial-ulnar deviation and flexion-extension were quantified. Results Device, sex and handedness effects were determined (P<0.05). Maximum medial radial deviation and ROM were greater using a cell versus traditional phone. Maximum medial radial deviation was higher in the nondominant wrist during backward tablet swiping and while backward page turning versus tablet swiping. Maximum and minimum medial extension angles and ROM were greater while typing versus texting. Female nondominant hand maximum lateral extension and ROM were greater for typing versus texting and maximum medial extension and lateral extension ROM greater during manual versus cell phone calculator use with handedness combined. Maximum lateral extension and ROM were greater in females versus males using manual calculators. Conclusions Sex and handedness should instruct touch screen, digital and manual device design and use for optimal performance and injury prevention.