Sports news reporters commonly report injuries to the hand, wrist and elbow in professional athletes. Athletes who play tennis, golf, basketball, football and baseball all risk hand injuries when they play their chosen sport. Surprisingly, medical professionals are seeing an increase in hand injuries from an unexpected activity–gaming, or esports.
According to a May 3, 2018 article in Variety, doctors who specialize in hand injuries are seeing an increase in injuries among the video game crowd. The article states that approximately 380 million people will play video games this year. Gamers, especially those that play for hours at a time, can end up with repetitive stress injuries and tendinitis to thumbs, wrists and elbows.
This isn’t just a problem for kids playing video games at home. Esports is big business. Sponsored teams with professional gamers compete at high-dollar tournaments–sometimes with prize awards in the millions. Professional esports teams have a vested interest in making sure that their “athletes” stay healthy, and provide trainers, doctors, nutritionists, and other support that professional athletes receive.
Professional gamers may play for up to 16 hours a day, and because tournaments are year round, there is no off season to give them a break. According to the article, it is important for gamers to seek medical attention not only for the care of injuries, but in order to incorporate medical advice into the prevention of injury. Hand specialists can educate gamers about stretching, exercise, and how to recognize a problem that needs attention.
Although most video game players are reluctant to go to a doctor for this type of injury, it is critical that the pain caused by hours of gaming not be ignored. There is much more at stake than not being able to play the game, as an injury can affect activities of daily life. Some professional gamers have reported stiffness and pain that has made it difficult to dress, eat or drive.
Whether or not you believe that video game players are “athletes,” the world of online gaming is growing each year and the result will be an increase in hand, wrist and elbow injuries. If you would like more information about treating or preventing injury, contact us.