Orthopaedic doctors at Galway University Hospital have issued a warning about the dangers of “selfie-induced” fractures of the arm and wrist.
Medics at the Department of Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery in Galway University Hospital report that they treated four different patients, who suffered arm and wrist fractures while taking selfies in the space of a week last summer.
Two of the patients involved were teenage girls, one was in her twenties, and one was a 40-year-old woman.
In reports published in the new edition of the Irish Medical Journal, doctors warn that the public should be aware of “the associated hazards and potential injuries”.
They added: “It is important to educate society about the risks associated with taking selfies, in order to reduce both major and minor trauma associated with the new trend.”
All of the injuries involved a fall while being distracted by their phone. Doctors noted that all four injured the limb not holding the smartphone, which suggests they tried to protect their phone from the fall.
In one case, a 13-year-old girl attempted to take a selfie while jumping on a trampoline with a friend and sustained an injury which required surgery. While looking at the phone in her left hand, the girl became distracted and collided with her friend.
Her doctors wrote: “She then fell onto her right hand, and suffered a fracture of the right distal radius and ulna. She was treated with manipulation under anaesthesia and cast for six weeks.”
A 17-year-old girl suffered a similar injury to her left wrist while attempting to take a selfie while running up steps along the seaside.
The report states: “She placed her left hand out to protect her face and sustained a fracture of the distal radius, with minimal displacement and angulation. She was treated non-operatively in a cast for six weeks.”
A young sportswoman injured herself while attempting to take a group selfie of herself and her teammates. The 27-year-old was taking a selfie with her left hand when she fell down four steps and broke her wrist, when she put out her right hand to break her fall.
In the fourth case, a 40-year-old woman was walking on uneven ground at a popular tourist attraction when she tried to snap a selfie. Unfortunately, while stepping backwards, she fell on rocks and suffered a fracture. She needed wires fixed to her arm for four weeks while her injury healed.
Doctors warn that our spatial awareness is compromised while taking selfies and said they have “noted an increase in the past number of months of selfie-related trauma".
So, always exercise caution while snapping a selfie - after all, a broken limb could ruin your whole summer.