iPod Thumb Syndrome is a repetitive strain injury (RSI) and can be defined as, “Repetitive use of your thumb, in a manner that it was not originally created to be used. Continued misuse can cause pain, numbness, enlarged thumb syndrome (ETS), and possibly amputation. Sometimes misdefined as “Irritable Thumb Syndrome”. Also see definition for ‘SMS Thumb’ and ‘Texting Thumb’” Definition mine.

If this iPod craze continues we’ll be amputating thumbs by the dozens, and I’m kinda attached to my thumbs.

Since I got my 60gb iPod video last year, I’ve learned a few things that have thankfully saved me from the dreaded iPod thumb epidemic sweeping our nation.

Here are my top 3 ways to avoid iPod Thumb Syndrome (ITS).

1. Use Manual iPod shuffling for individual folders.

Shuffling your songs (random for you non-iPoders) is pretty awesome and allows you to listen to music without developing acute ITS. Unfortunately you can’t create a folder and shuffle the folder. But here is what I do:

1. Open iTunes.

2. Open your favorite folder (Purchased for example) and notice what column you are sorting by. Currently my Purchased folder is being sorted by Genre. View screenshot.

3. Click a different heading. If I click one of the other headings, it will sort my list by that heading. For example, my Purchased sorted by Artist, view screenshot.

Next time you sync your iPod, that folder will now show the same order that you created in iTunes. Manually sorted, one of the best ways to protect your thumb from iPod damage and ITS and ETS.

2. Create the Ultimate Playlist.

For information on creating the ultimate iTunes playlist, please view this screenshot:

Ultimate iTunes playlist settings

You’ll need to change the play count. With mine set to 5 I ended up with 892 songs…too many. When I set it to 15 I only had 487 songs, much better. These settings allow you to only show songs based on actual songs (not podcasts) over 1 minute long (avoid comedy sketches, and partial downloads) that you haven’t skipped in the last two months, with over X amount of plays total (including on your iPod).

Those settings will make it so your favorite songs are being played, therefore reducing the possibility that you end up hospitalized due to the ravenous iPod Thumb.

3. If Addicted to your iPod, Seek Professional Help.

There are a variety of ways that a professional can help with your iPod Thumb pain and troubles.

1. Contact David P. Meyer & Associates or Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro. They sued Apple for iPod nano scratches, and other ridiculous stuff. iPod Thumb Syndrome would be right up their alley.

2. Contact a crazy chiropractor in the UK. The British Chiropractor Association says that iPod Thumb Syndrome, “is an injury that affects the finger of music-mad consumers who are constantly using the scroll-wheel or buttons on their MP3 players to organise their song library, update playlists and adjust volume of their favourite artists.” Music-mad? Must be a British thing.

3. Sell it on eBay. These people will take your money the work out of listing your thumb-wrecking device (and give you like 50% of the value). If you chose this route, you probably can’t use #1 (lawsuit).

I hope by spreading these tips and ideas we might be able to continue our dominance over mammals without opposable thumbs!

Do you have a way to avoid ITS? Leave a comment!