Professional athletes have a common fear that an 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 an issue that can quickly cause a lot of grief for gaming athletes and shut down a gaming career.
Carpal tunnel should not be confused with generalized wrist pain but any discomfort in the wrist of a gamer should not be ignored at the first indication that something doesn't feel right. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a collection of symptoms that cause the sufferer discomfort that can last long after the gaming session has stopped.
The pain typically feels like numbness or tingling that gets worse while playing and during normal activity. A reduction in grip strength may also be noticed. Unfortunately the best solution to combat these symptoms from getting worse is to stop the activity that is causing the injury. Breaks must be taken.
Most gaming injuries fall into the category of an “overuse injury” or defined as microtrauma. This is a different type of injury compared to the injuries of a football, rugby or basketball player. Microtrauma injuries develop over time and can be challenging to heal if the injured area is not allowed proper rest time to heal.
There are stretches, exercises, braces and specially designed keyboards, mice and mouse pads that all help prevent the injury before it develops.
Follow these tips to reduce the likelihood of having an eSports injury stop you from gaming.
1 – Stretch neck, arms and wrist before, during and after a gaming session
2 – Take 5-10 minute “standing” breaks every hour.
3 – If any pain or soreness presents; stop gaming and use ice wrapped in a towel for 15-20 minutes to decrease swelling
4 – Seek help from a medical provider who can properly treat your eSports injury
Pro gamers spends countless hours practicing and competing. The unspoken disadvantage to esports compared to other professional sports is there is no true “off-season” for rest and rehab. This greatly contributes to an injury being aggravated due to the lack of forced rest time. Look at it this way, NBA, MLB and NFL players have between 130 to over 200 days of off-season to allow injuries to heal before the next season starts. Pro gamers can literally compete for hours each and every day with 0 days of off-season. This helps to create and perpetuate the eSports injury dilemma. Finding the right balance before and after an injury has occurred must be handled properly or it will lead to early retirement and long term health problems for the serious gamer.