Professional athletes have a common fear that injury will end their career before they decide to retire on their own terms. When it comes to an esports injury, carpal tunnel is at the top of the list for a problem that can quickly cause gaming athletes a lot of pain and close out a video game career.
Carpal tunnel should not be confused with generalized wrist pain, but any discomfort in a player’s wrist should not be ignored at the first indication that something does not feel right. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a group of symptoms that cause discomfort to the patient that can last long after the gaming session has stopped.
The pain usually feels like numbness or tingling that is worse when playing and during normal activity. A reduction in grip strength may also be noted. Unfortunately, the best solution to prevent these symptoms from getting worse is to stop the activity that is causing the injury. Breaks must be taken.
Most game-related injuries fall into the category of “overuse injury” or are defined as microtrauma. This is a different type of injury compared to the injuries of a soccer, rugby, or basketball player. Microtrauma injuries develop over time and can be difficult to heal if the injured area is not allowed adequate rest time to heal.
There are stretches, exercises, braces, and specially designed keyboards, mice, and mouse pads that help prevent injury before it develops.
Follow these tips to reduce the chance that an esports injury will prevent you from playing.
1 – Stretch your neck, arms and wrist before, during and after a game session.
2 – Take 5-10 minute breaks to “stand up” every hour.
3 – If you have any pain or discomfort; stop playing and use ice wrapped in a towel for 15 to 20 minutes to decrease swelling
4 – Seek help from a medical provider who can properly treat your eSports injury
Professional players spend countless hours practicing and competing. The unspoken disadvantage of esports compared to other professional sports is that there is no true “off season” for rest and rehab. This greatly contributes to an injury becoming worse due to lack of forced rest time. Look at it this way, NBA, MLB and NFL players have 130 to 200+ days off-season to allow injuries to heal before the next season begins. Professional players can literally compete for hours every day with 0 days out of season. This helps create and perpetuate the eSports injury dilemma. Finding the right balance before and after an injury has to be managed correctly or it will lead to early retirement and long-term health problems for the serious player.