Pro-level gamers will tell you that esports can be difficult and painful. To keep your game playing strong, you need to know the three most common videogame injuries.
And most such sort of injuries is caused by a conditional symptom called carpal tunnel syndrome, which occurs in your wrist.
So, let’s try to understand this.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome basically refers to an irritational or impingement-related problem that is caused by the median nerve in the carpal tunnel around the wrist, which is an anatomical structure at the base of your hand. This is when the median nerve can become irritated due to pressure, inflammation, or stretching.
People who use a lot of PC with poor mechanics are more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome.
Carpal tunnel syndrome, more specifically, is more likely in the right hand because of prolonged wrist extension to hold the mouse.
Console-based gamers are not exempt from the possibility of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. It is much less common due to the hand movements and hand positions involved in holding a console controller.
Well, this is the very first time we are discussing something related to injuries and going in-depth about medical technicalities.
Even though we don’t discuss them as often, injuries in esports can be quite common. We found this in an article by foothillsrehab about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in which they gave an example of a physician Doug Rich, a certified hand therapist at the Red Mountain Clinic who has treated many video game injuries.
Doug has a long resume. He is a 25-year veteran as a physical therapist and 15 years as a certified hand therapist. He also holds a trigger point dry needling certification that allows him to be one of a few hand therapists who can do dry needling. Doug answered my questions about common gaming injuries and their causes, symptoms, treatment, and prevention.
What are the Types of Injuries Caused by Gaming?
Gamer’s Thumb, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and Tennis Elbow are the most common injuries seen in gamers. The world of video gaming is not limited to consoles. Many Physicians divide these common videogame injuries into four main categories.
- Console-based injuries. These are the most common injuries for gamers who visit the clinic. The most common injuries are the gamer’s thumb or tennis elbow.
- These injuries are common in desk-job injuries. The most common is carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Wii Sports and active gaming injuries. You can get the same injuries from tennis, soccer, or bowling. Play the sports equivalent. Active game players are encouraged to use the same prevention methods as those who play that sport. Keep your form good, warm, and hydrated. Keep up your strength and mobility. You won’t feel as tired or as active if you aren’t actually playing the sport.
- Virtual reality video games injuries. Virtual reality offers a new way to experience video games. Players can fully immerse themselves in the game. This means that players can’t see the world around them because their faces and eyes are completely covered. Since then, there has been an increase in the number of falls and injuries among virtual reality players.
We’ll be diving deeper into the most common injuries to gamers, including tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, and thumb injury.
What are Common Indications and Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel?
Carpal tunnel syndrome can cause one or more of these symptoms.
- Tingling and numbness
- The first sign is often a change in the sensation of your index, middle, or thumb.
- These symptoms can include pins and needles in your fingers, tingling or numbness, often starting at the tips of your fingers.
- If the weakness is present, it will only be found in your thumb
- You might notice a weakness in gripping and pinching. For example, you may be more likely to drop small items like keys.
- Muscle wasting
- If nerve compression is severe, chronic, or persistent, you might notice atrophy (decreased mass) in the base of your thumb.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is not a condition that causes pinky fingers or pinky side effects in your wrist or hand. These symptoms are consistent with cubital tube syndrome.
Some other common findings include:
- You may experience more severe symptoms if you extend your wrists (e.g. when you use a keyboard or mouse)
- Nighttime symptoms worsen
- After shaking your hands, you can get relief or improvement in symptoms