Is 'smartphone pinky' real? Doctors weigh in

Health experts are weighing in on whether a common way of holding smartphones leads to a condition known as "smartphone pinky."

Andrew Bracken, an occupational therapist in Utah, told KSTU that so-called "smartphone pinky" happens when you use your pinky to hold and stabilize the bottom of your phone, and "literally indent the side of your pinky."

The indent on your pinky is real, doctors say, but "smartphone pinky" is not. It's temporary, and doctors say cell phones aren't heavy enough to stop blood flow or damage nerves.    

But Bracken said overuse of cell phones can be a contributing factor to real conditions like Cubital tunnel syndrome, trigger finger and carpal tunnel syndrome.

"They’ll develop numbness in their pinky finger and along the side of their hand," Bracken said. "It’s the angle of their wrist and their elbow that contributes to that numbness and that can lead to some real serious consequences if not addressed."


Smartphone pinky isnt a medical condition, but cell phone overuse can be a factor in conditions that cause hand pain (KSTU)

Bracken suggested using collapsible phone grips, like Popsockets, to reduce the stress on your pinky. He also encourages people to spend less time on your phone.

If you’re willing to spend way less time on your phone – or give it up for an entire month – you could get $10,000 for your sacrifice.

Siggi's Dairy, known for selling an Icelandic yogurt called skyr, is giving 10 people $10,000 and 60 cups of yogurt if they don’t use a smartphone for a month.

The participants will be selected based on the essays they submit to Siggi's. To make sure the they don't use their smartphones, Siggi's will send participants a lockbox and a flip-phone with a one-month prepaid SIM card. 

"The goal of the program is to show people the benefits of going digital-free in hopes that this can start new healthy habits in 2024 and beyond," Siggie's said in a news release. 

The deadline to apply on Siggi's website is Jan. 31.