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Selfie elbow epidemic

By David Butler Lost in translation 07 Jul 2016


Taking selfies has become a cultural phenomenon. Consequently, ‘selfie elbow’ has hit the news. We have been trying to keep it quiet, but at NOI we have been alarmed at the number of people with selfie elbow presenting for advice and treatment. In the worst cases we have had reports of individuals with selfie shoulder as well. One had bilateral selfie shoulder! Some data has emerged suggesting young women may spend 5 hours a week taking selfies. We at NOI would like to warn the world of an impending epidemic.


You can take healthy or unhealthy selfies. The standard selfie technique is actually a neurodynamic test with the wrist flexion component placing a pincer movement on the median nerve at the wrist. Clearly selfies are highly unhealthy if a person has had a previous Colles fracture and they should be banned in people with carpal tunnel syndrome. Insurance companies should take note.


We have noted that people with more than one chin appear to have worse selfie elbows – they hold the phone up higher to avoid multiple-chins! But of course this puts the brachial plexus on an increased load and increases the physical forces on the median nerve at the wrist as well as placing the neck towards a Spurling test position, closing down the space around cervical nerve roots. Selfie taking is dangerous stuff!


From our extensive biopsychological assessment we can confidently report that those with tendencies to narcissism seem to have worse selfie-elbows. Although the American Psychiatric Association has dispelled the hoax that ‘selfitis’ is a mental disorder, there have been serious reports of injuries from the adventurous selfie-seeker.


While selfie sticks may offer some respite from the forthcoming selfie elbow epidemic, we at NOI would like to warn the world and offer some solutions:

  • Get selfie fit before taking photos – try a combination of Yoga, Pilates and mindfulness
  • Learn to be ambidextrous, give that other arm a go!
  • Be old fashioned and get a passing stranger to take a photo for you, you might even score a hot date!

Any more selfie elbow advice out there?


– David Butler & Hayley Leake


NB: Dave only required half an hour of make-up, 2 hours of photography and 84 photographs to get these two stunning images above. He was carefully supervised and no injuries were sustained in the process.


  1. ❤Brilliant!
    ❤Big Bunches of Laughter Occuring!!
    ❤Thank You!!!

  2. elefanteg85

    A selfie stick, of course… 😉

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