Reality television star Kim Kardashian has practically built her career on posting selfies to her 154 million dedicated Instagram followers.

Fans will remember she famously took a record 6000 snaps during a four-day holiday in Mexico.

But this didn't come without a cost.

Continually taking selfies could
Continually taking selfies could "compromise" the nerve in the carpal tunnel. Photo / 123RF

Her hands were so damaged by the photo frenzy she later needed to recruit a "selfie assistant" to give her wrists a much-needed rest.


Her condition, since dubbed "selfie wrist" has become increasingly widespread, with leading surgeons saying they've noted more young people now suffering from it.

According to Harley Street consultant plastic surgeon Dr Raj Ragoowansi, there has been a marked rise in the number of Millennials experiencing a type of carpal tunnel syndrome related to smartphone use.

"In one 26-year-old I saw a month ago, the numbness was so severe that she couldn't grip," he said.

"It's not just selfies, but texting too, about how you hold the phone and type."

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful disorder of the hand caused by pressure on nerves that run through the wrist, explains Better Health Channel.

"We're also seeing 'iPhone thumb', whereby if you keep on using your thumb you will get thumb-based pain due to joint or tendon inflammation," Dr Ragoowansi said.

The surgeon told The Sunday Times that the reason more young adults were being injured was due to the way they repeatedly flexed their wrists inward to snap the perfect image of themselves.

He said this awkward movement was the "unfavourable position" for the wrist – especially when done repeatedly.


According to specialists at Sydney North Neurology, carpal tunnel xyndrome specificially affects 2.7 per cent of the general population and it is more common in women than men.

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Continually taking selfies could "compromise" the nerve in the carpal tunnel, resulting in pain and numbness, or pins and needles, in the fingers, arms or arm, Dr Ragoowansi explained.

If painkillers failed to resolve the issue, steroid injections or even surgery, where the carpal tunnel is cut to ease pressure and swelling of the nerve, might be needed, he warned.

Scarlett McNally, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon, told the Times that young people could avoid the painful condition by "avoiding prolonged postures", having a healthy diet, stretching and being active.

Last year Kim Kardashian was in so much pain that she recruited a selfie assistant after her doctor instructed her to give her wrists a rest.

The reality TV star and model famously released a book of selfies called Selfish.