The types of injuries that come from gaming are far more damaging than you might think. Whether it’s related to your hands, arms, or even your posture, anyone can be susceptible to injuries from gaming. In this article, you’ll learn about the primary types of gaming injuries and the best way to treat them if you run into any complications yourself.
What Are Gaming Injuries?
In our modern technological era, it’s evident that video games are becoming increasingly popular. Moreover, they can be enjoyed by any age group, and depending on how much time is spent on the hobby, gamer hand injuries can cause pain or discomfort in your wrists, hands, and elbows. Although each person plays in their preferred relaxed position, there’s a general posture that comes with many long gaming sessions. Torn ligaments and fractures of the bones of finger and hand have occurred. Many active gamers experience different orthopedic complications such as pinching or sensitivity in the hands, as well as common injuries further up the arm like tennis elbow.
Whether you prefer to game on your PC at a desk or sink into your couch with your favorite console, both methods entertain different potential injuries. This isn’t to say these varying injuries can’t be avoided, as there are many things you can do to ensure you keep your hands, wrists, and elbows safe from wear and tear. VR headsets limit visibility and can be associated with damaging blows to the hand during movements which may accidentally contact furniture and room walls, while standing, moving, and playing. Torn ligaments and fractures of the bones of the fingers and hand have occurred. Keep reading below to get a better look at the specific types of gaming injuries that are most commonly seen at HandSport Surgery Institute.
Common Gaming Injuries
The postures that come with holding a controller or gliding across a keyboard come with different strains on the body, especially your hands, wrists, forearms, and more particularly, the elbow. Additionally, some people may experience more aggressive symptoms based on posture, how many hours they put into the hobby, and other unique situational factors.
More or less, there are still quite a few gaming injuries that are extremely common regardless of each person’s individual situation. The particular injuries described below are a lot easier to obtain than one might think, and it’s best to be educated about them as early as possible for the sake of your current and future health.
Gaming Hand Injuries
An uncomfortable wrist and sore joints offer minimal discomfort in comparison to the types of gaming injuries that are possible. From mobility issues related to joint strain and carpal tunnel syndrome to potentially broken or fractured bones, extended and repetitive gaming can lead to some serious concerns.
Considering how your hands are putting in all of the work during an intense gaming session, it’s understandable how they’re able to take on so much damage over time. Our thumbs, wrists, hands, and elbows go through a fair amount of stress while gaming due to repeated motion and a less than advantageous posture. Furthermore, each of these areas on the body requires a unique approach to treatment, some being easier to manage than others.
The thumbs of gamers are heavily used during game play, especially when utilizing a hand-held controller. Over time, continual, repetitive, usage can begin to impact the ligaments of the thumb. Gamers’ thumb is the inflammation of the tendons of the thumb at the wrist. This is also known as De Quervain’s Tendonitis and can limit a gamers ability to play at all or without discomfort.
More commonly associated with PC players, gamer’s wrist is an injury that pertains to inflammation in the wrist. This can happen from being pressed into a desk for extended periods of time or simply bent at an angle that isn’t the most comfortable or biomechanically advantageous. Aside from the tendon inflammation, this can lead to more severe injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome if not managed while being exposed to continuous stress on a frequent schedule. Although gamer’s wrist may be primarily associated with PC gaming, console players can experience all of the same symptoms from their hand-held controllers.
With a focus on what’s called the extensor tendons of your forearm, gamer’s elbow is a serious injury primarily experienced by PC gamers. The natural position for PC and console gaming comes with a bent elbow. In many cases, console gaming can come with a more relaxed position, whereas PC gaming can lead to more stress on the elbow as you may hold a sharper bend at the elbow and wrist when sitting at a desk. These tendons also control the wrist and fingers, and the elbow stress can also lead to further discomfort in your hands. Pain on the outside of the elbow is like tennis elbow or extensor wad strain. On the inside of the elbow it is golfer’s elbow.
Getting A Diagnosis For Your Gaming Injury
Some gaming injuries can slowly develop over the years, while some others may quickly make themselves known in a fairly short amount of time. Although many treatments are available for gaming injuries, some can pose lifelong risks if left unchecked. Regardless of the stage of your injury, if you’re starting to feel discomfort in your hands, wrists, or elbows, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with orthopedic hand surgeon Dr. Mark E. Pruzansky or Dr. Jason S. Pruzansky to make sure you don’t have a more serious injury developing.
Treatment Options For Gaming Injuries
Depending on the specific injury in question, quite a few treatments can be applied to work on hand, wrist, and elbow injuries. Your treatment with your orthopedic hand surgeon will start with an assessment of the injury, followed by a specific treatment plan. Regardless of your particular injury, you can expect physical therapy to be a part of the treatment.
If needed, anti-inflammatory medicine, splints, occupational therapy and ergonomic training can be used to help alleviate pain and tension. In more serious circumstances, surgery may be required to prevent more damaging injuries moving forward. It’s always best to get ahead of these injuries by contacting an orthopedic hand surgeon before it’s too late.