Exploratory study on adequacy of upper extremity position during smartphone usage
by Han-Yeong Yun; Tae-Lim Yoon
International Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics (IJHFE), Vol. 6, No. 4, 2019

Abstract: This study compared the effects of the prone, side-lying, and sitting positions during smartphone use. Positions can cause discomfort in the upper extremity musculoskeletal system. Thirty healthy young adults were recruited and instructed to type on a smartphone for 5 min in each position and 5 min rest between each position. Electromyography data acquired from the upper extremity muscles were analysed using the amplitude probability distribution function (APDF) method. Wrist and elbow joint angles were assessed using the motion analysis system (MyoMotion). In 50% of APDFs, the flexor carpi ulnaris muscle displayed higher muscle activity in the side-lying position, whereas the abductor pollicis brevis (APB) and extensor carpi ulnaris (ECU) muscles showed higher muscle activity in the sitting position. In 90% of APDF, the upper trapezius, ECU, and APB muscles showed higher muscle activity in the sitting position. Additionally, the side-lying position showed a neutral wrist extension angle of 0° compared to the prone and sitting positions (p < 0.05). Using smartphones in the side-lying position is recommended to reduce overuse of the upper-extremity muscles and poor alignment of the wrists.

Online publication date: Mon, 17-Feb-2020

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