How to Hold and Use Your Phone Ergonomically - Smartphone Ergonomics San Diego

We spend a LOT of time on our little screens these days, and it can really hurt! Sore texting thumbs, angry wrists, and aching necks are just some of the complaints I hear... Knowing how to hold and use your phone ergonomically with the best smartphone ergonomics tips can make a big difference.

So, to help out while you’re on mobile productively writing e-mail and doing research (or, y’know, scrolling your feed), here are my top 6 ergonomic tips for using your phone more happily.

  1. Hold with one hand, use with the other one. It can take a lot of work (read: tension!) to hold a phone stable in the palm of the hand while leaving the thumb mobile to use the screen. Let one hand take care of stability and the other mobility. See how little effort you can use to hold it by letting it rest in the palm. Bonus points for switching hands once in a while!

  2. Choose index fingers over thumbs. Opposable thumbs are awesome, but scrolling and typing with them all the time can hurt because the joints used aren’t ideal. Your index fingers can do the job more efficiently. As a bonus, see how lightly your fingers can press into the screen -- you might be surprised how hard you mash down!

  3. Bring the phone up by bending your elbow. Your elbow is a key joint in happy cell phone use! Start by letting your arm hang by your side, and then bend at your elbow to bring your forearm up. See how light a motion you can make this feel, and experiment with this as a way to reduce the amount you have to look down to see your phone or the amount of energy you spend holding it out ahead of you.

  4. Look down with your eyes, then the top of your spine. We still need to look down to see our phones, but we want to do it efficiently. Start neutrally, looking ahead. Then glance down with just your eyes. If you need to look further down to see your phone, try gently nodding “yes” to use the topmost joint of your spine. The point here isn’t to freeze the rest of your neck from moving, just to make good use of all the parts that let you look down.

  5. Think “up and away” from your phone, not down into it. Even with all these tips, we can still get sucked in. Think of yourself as floating away from your device, allowing for a healthy distance, a little breathing room. As much as it may feel like it sometimes, they aren’t a part of ourselves!

  6. When resting your hand, let go of “the claw.” Rest and breaks are important, but I’m not here to judge how many hours a day you’re on your phone or how many hours of sleep you lose to scrolling in bed. (It’s not just me, is it?) But when you are resting, it’s important to give your digits a chance to relax into length. Quickly stretching them may feel good, but it doesn’t accomplish this. Try to spend a minute with your hands resting on your lap or a table, focused on letting your palms be wide and your fingers long.

Remember, posture and ergo advice isn’t one size fits all, and nothing is absolute. These smartphone ergnomics tips are to play around with so you can find ways of moving that work better for you individually, not to bully you into the “right way to do things.” My golden rule for advice is: if it helps you feel more free, then keep it; otherwise, let it go!

If you’re worried about “phone bone,” don’t be. You can read what I have to say about that here.

If you want individualized help applying these tips, I’m available for consultation in-person in San Diego or via video call remotely.

Tell me in a comment below which tip you’re going to start playing with today!