Because of the nature of gaming systems and computer use, gaming-related injuries are typically overuse injuries, like trigger finger, carpal tunnel syndrome, and tendinitis. These injuries can cause significant pain and eventually require surgery if left untreated. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to prevent gaming-related hand pain and injuries:
- Keep good posture while playing. Adjust the screen you are using to make sure you are neither craning your neck up or down to see it. Choose seating that will support your posture so you aren’t slouching.
- Take a break. At least once every 30 minutes, make sure you stand up and stretch.
- Work on strength and flexibility. Perform the hand stretches and exercises recommended below.
Here are some simple hand exercises that can help you avoid injuries. Be careful not to overextend when performing them.
- Finger Lift: With the palm of your hand resting flat on a table, lift a thumb up. Hold 10 seconds. Relax and lower. Now, lift each finger off the table one at a time, relax, then lower. Repeat 10 times for each hand.
- Thumb Flex: Hold one hand in front of you with your palm up. Stretch your thumb as far away from your other fingers as you can. Slowly bend your thumb across your palm until it touches the base of your small finger. Repeat 5 times in each hand.
- Finger Stretch: Lace your fingers together, keeping your palms open and facing toward you. Next, stretch your arms out fully. Flip your hands so your palms face outwards. Stretch, then release by shaking out your hands and fingers at your side.
- Wrist Stretch: Hold one of your arms out straight. With your other hand, grasp the hand of your straightened arm. Slowly bend it down until you feel the stretch through the top of your forearm, then hold it for a few seconds. Switch arms and repeat 5 times.
If you’re experiencing hand, wrist, or forearm pain that is not improving, even after taking breaks and following these guidelines, you could have an overuse injury. Request an appointment online or call (423) 434-6300 to get solutions from one of our hand specialists at Appalachian Orthopedics.