Professional gaming has changed a lot since the days of Doom. Nowadays, a team of pro gamers can make millions of dollars annually and earn sponsorships from major companies, making it possible to support a family on gaming-related income. But the life of a pro gamer isn’t all glitz and glamour, as it comes with its share of injuries.
In fact, one gamer, a 25-year old from the US, recently announced his retirement from gaming due to an injury. Thomas “ZooMaa” Paparatto, one of the most popular Call of Duty players, suffered from injury-induced weakness in his thumb and wrist that started a few years before he announced his retirement.
It’s safe to say that the online gaming trend isn’t disappearing anytime soon. Players worldwide log over six hours on average every week playing games, and the global gaming industry was valued at $162.32 billion in 2020. All that time spent in front of a screen, however, comes at a cost. Chronic gaming can lead to musculoskeletal pain and injuries.
Common Types of Gaming Injuries
Overuse injuries are especially common in gamers since prolonged use of gaming controllers causes repetitive stress on the hands, wrists, arms, and other muscles and tendons. This stress is also known as gamer’s thumb and can lead to carpal tunnel, peripheral neuropathy and arthritis. While such repetitive injuries are common in gamers, they aren’t the only ones at risk of injury; people in all walks of life can suffer from the same injuries from gaming since they’re caused by the same types of repetitive motion injuries found in manual labor, sports, hobbies, and other recreational activities.
Muscles and tendons are the body’s support system and help us to move. It is not uncommon for stress to build up in the muscles and tendons. Injuries such as strains and tears can occur regularly from overuse. When muscles and tendons become damaged, they can no longer do their job, resulting in pain, loss of range of motion, and weakness.
One of the most severe athletic injuries a gamer can suffer is carpal tunnel syndrome, which occurs when a person uses the mouse or keyboard for an extended period. This can be caused by repetitive motions or a poor ergonomic setup, like using a hard mouse surface instead of gel, or having the chair too low. If you have begun to suffer from symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, you’ll need to get help to treat it quickly. Be aware that the longer you wait to seek treatment, the higher the risk of developing more serious conditions like arthritis will be.
The other common culprit for gaming injuries is carpal tunnel’s cousin, the cubital tunnel syndrome. It is also caused by repeatedly flexing and extending the elbow and wrist over and over again, resulting in a slow build-up of fluids in the area. When those fluids start to accumulate, they then press on the nerves, causing pain, numbness, and tingling in the affected area. This can have a devastating effect on your gaming, as it’s hard to play when you can’t feel your hands.
Wrist Injury Treatment
Severe injuries are relatively rare in the world of gaming, but there are a few things you can do to help prevent them. Often, the body’s natural healing process will begin soon after an injury. However, if the pain persists, an injury can trigger a complex interaction that can result in further physical problems. If these problems are not treated, they can lead to permanent changes in the way your body functions.
To prevent long-term effects that could ensue from minor strains or gaming-related injuries, there are some tips you can follow:
- Keep your equipment in good working order. If your controller or mouse is not working properly, stop using it immediately and replace it.
- Stay hydrated, as dehydration can significantly affect your performance and muscle recovery.
Another form of treatment to support and heal strained or injured areas from gaming involves using kinesiology tape on the hands, wrists, or forearms. Kinesiology tape has been used in the treatment of musculoskeletal injuries for many years and is trusted by experts. It has been shown to provide therapeutic benefits such as pain relief, reduced swelling, and improved mobility. With many professional gamers reporting the benefits of using kinesiology tape on social media, it is not surprising that many are turning to it.
About Kinesiology Tape
Gamers are always looking for an edge. Having the right keyboard, monitor, or mouse is a good start. But, what if you want to take it a step further? You could spend thousands of dollars on specialized training equipment, or you could invest in a kinesiology tape and help yourself. (And don’t let the technical word “kinesiology” scare you off. Strength coaches, elite athletes, and world-class dancers all use kinesiology tape to help them perform at their best levels.)
Kinesiology tape can help treat common gaming injuries by aligning the bones and muscles properly and providing support to the joints without restricting the range of motion. The tape is lightweight, breathable, and can be worn for extended periods of time. It’s breathable, waterproof, and fully adheres to your skin, making it especially well-suited for wearing under clothing.
Kinesiology tape is made from cotton elastic fabric that is engineered to provide support to muscles and joints. Kinesiology tape is designed first and foremost to facilitate muscle movement, and secondly, to protect muscles and joints from injury. A common misconception is that kinesiology tape is the same as traditional sports tape, but this is not the case; kinesiology tape aims to promote movement and restore range of motion where conventional medical tape is designed to restrict it.
There are numerous reasons why kinesiology tape is used by gamers nowadays. It can be applied in a number of different ways to treat different problems related to joints and muscles. These problems include sprains, strains, overuse injuries, postural issues, and more. Kinesiology tape can also be used to relieve pain associated with osteoarthritis, which is common among gamers. When applied with the correct technique, kinesiology tape can provide therapeutic benefits for these problems and allow gamers to play longer, harder and pain-free.
About the Author: Montu Khokhar