Online gaming isn’t just a popular hobby – professional gamers can earn as much as $10 million at each tournament. With millions of spectators watching the tournaments online, in person at mega-places like Madison Square Garden and the Staples Center, and on major TV stations like ESPN3 or the Big Ten Network, a lot of time and money is being spent on this newer sport. . Esports can even be added as a medal event during the 20241 Olympics.
If other serious athletes practice their lives and prepare for big events like this, then it makes sense that gamers do too. Many top players practice 12 to 15 hours a day. Like any other sports, gaming can cause different types of injuries and aches and pains. A familiar one is the ‘Gamers Thumb’.
The increased computer load, the use of mobile phones and video games on portable consoles, controllers, desktops and mobile phones have become increasingly popular. It gives people the chance to connect from places near and far away with high-quality resolutions.
There is also an increasing number of patients coming to clinics for wrist pain, carpal tunnel pain and pain when using the thumb, often called “gamer’s thumb”. The formal diagnosis is called the tenosynovitis of the Quervain. All this is related to the chronic use of our hands and the all-day pressing of buttons and keys.
So what part of the body causes this pain? Located in the first compartment of our hand and wrist, we have the abductor pollicis longus and extensor pollicis brevis. These are the culprits.
Gamer’s Thumb is an ignition of the fluid-filled envelope or tunnel (called synovium) around the two tendons that regulate the movement of the thumb. Two common stenosing diagnoses of the ‘game-thumb’ are:
- Dequervainsyndrome: this is the first dorsal compartment of the wrist, and we will treat this in this article
- Trigger finger: this happens when a fibrous lump develops in the digital bending tendon, as described in this related article
Symptoms of gamer’s thumb
The main symptoms are pain and sensitivity in the wrist. Pain and sensitivity occur below the base of the thumb and/or on the upper surface of the thumb from fingernail to wrist. It is often associated with a number of repetitive activities, such as:
- Use of a game console
- Keyboard use
- Grab and twist the wrist (like a doorknob)
- Carrying a baby
- Racket sports
Finkelstein’s test is an orthopedic maneuver to help diagnose a gamer’s thumb and/or the Quervain’s (stenosing tenosynovitis). To perform this test, the patient grabs his thumb in the palm of his hand. With the thumb in the palm of his hand, the patient bends his wrist to the pinky side of his hand.
A positive test is one that results in sharp pain along the tendons of the extensor pollicis brevis and the tendons of the abductor pollicis longus on the thumb side of the wrist and forearm.
Gamer thumb treatment
Rest! This means that you should avoid the activities that cause pain and swelling; repeated movements can irritate the sheath around the two tendons, making them thicker and swell. You may be able to solve the problem by shortening these motions.
Preventing gamers thumb
The most common mechanism of injury to a gamer’s thumb is overuse – exacerbated by poor wrist position – and chronic inflammation.
Hand and wrist position
It’s important to keep your wrists neutral! Radial abnormality (bending your wrists to your thumb) and ulnary abnormality (bending your wrists to your little finger) both increase the risk of developing a gamer’s thumb.
Use and overuse
- Take breaks to avoid overuse
- Make sure you warm up your hands and wrists before you start gaming. The purpose of a warm-up is to increase blood flow to the muscles and to lubricate joints and other structures (e.g. Peesmantel). Gaming without first performing a proper warm-up can lead to increased friction of the tendons of the extensor pollicis brevis and the tendons of the abductor pollicis longus under the tendon coat
- Perform the right stretching exercises when you’re done with your sessions. An important goal coolingof acooling-down is to reduce inflammation. Gaming without proper cooling afterwards can lead to chronic inflammation of the tendon coats.
- It is also important to follow an anti-inflammatory diet and/or include anti-inflammatory supplements in your diet to prevent chronic, systemic inflammation that may be a contributing factor.
Eccentric wrist flexion with finger curl: this exercise is ideal for stretching andstrengthening the wrist.
- Use a moderately heavy weight,so it is possible to do multiple repetitions to build endurance
- Start by holding the weight with your palm up
- Curl your wrist to the ceiling
- Slowly relax the wrist and bring it to the ground
- Uncurl your fingers at the end of the exercise to target the deep forearm muscles
- Repeat for three sets of 15 repetitions each
Eccentric wrist extension:
- Start by holding the weight with your palm down
- Curl your wrist up to the ceiling
- Loosen the wrist towards the ground
- Unlike the last exercise, you should not loosen your fingers
- Repeat for three sets of 15 repetitions each
Strengthening the radial abnormality: this is another stretching exercise that will come in handy during long tournaments.
- Start stretching your arm for your body
- Hold the weight with your palm facing inwards
- If additional support is needed, balance your forearm on a table with the wrist over the edge
- Keep your forearm still while you focus on moving the wrist
- Bend the wrist up to the ceiling and feel the rack at the base of the thumb
- Lower the wrist back to the starting position
- Repeat for two sets of ten repetitions each
Resistance to ulnary deviation: The purpose of this exercise is to improve thegamer’s thumb using Resistance Tubing..
- Sit on a chair with feet at hip distance from each other
- Hold one end of the TheraBand professional resistance hose in the right hand
- As you hold your palm to the ground, lean forward so that your right elbow rests on your right thigh and your forearm falls between your knees
- Step with your left foot on the other end of Tubing
- Bend your wrist slowly up and away from your left knee with your right hand
- Feel the rack on the back and inside of your hand
- Repeat ten times
- Switch to your left hand and repeat the exercise
The unparalleled importance of sleep
In life there is nothing more valuable to your health than your sleep. Please read our sleep message to better understand its importance. And, for the sake of your health, plan and follow a regular sleep schedule, including eight hours of uninterrupted sleep!