If you are here for the short answer, then YES, you can get carpal tunnel from gaming. But if you want to learn more about carpal tunnel in gaming and carpal tunnel in general, you are at the right place.
By the time you are done reading this, you will know all the symptoms, signs, causes, how to avoid getting carpal tunnel syndrome from gaming, carpal tunnel stretches, and a lot more.
- What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
- Who can get carpal tunnel syndrome?
- What causes carpal tunnel syndrome?
- Carpal tunnel signs and symptoms
- Is carpal tunnel from console gaming very common?
- Will carpal tunnel gaming glove help?
- Famous pro-gamers with the Carpal tunnel
- How to Avoid Carpal Tunnel Syndrome from Gaming?
- Carpal tunnel stretches
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What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition in which the median nerve found within the carpal tunnel which is located at the base of the hand is irritated or damaged. Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms appear when the median nerve is inflamed, pressured, or/and stretched.
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Who can get carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is very common with PC gamers because they spend a lot of time using their PC. Usually, it is the right hand that is affected by this alignment due to the continued extension of the wrist to control the mouse.
But even if you are a console gamer, there is still a certain risk that you can develop carpal tunnel syndrome because that includes gripping a console controller.
What causes carpal tunnel syndrome?
Anything that irritates or pressures the median nerve can be the cause of carpal tunnel syndrome.
In most cases, there is more than one cause that caused this condition.
Very often, there is some underlying medical condition that can lead to swelling in the wrist which is because of an obstructed blood flow.
Some of the most common medical conditions closely related to carpal tunnel syndrome are high blood pressure, fracture of the wrist, thyroid dysfunction, rheumatoid arthritis, menopause, fluid retention, diabetes, and so on.
Carpal tunnel can get even worse if you keep on overextending your wrist, over and over. Continuous and repeated wrist motions can easily cause the swelling of the wrist, which in fact it will compress the median nerve.
That can be a direct consequence of any repeated movements such as continuous exposure to vibrations from using power tools, positioning while typing on a keyboard, using a mouse, or even playing the piano.
Other than that, being obese or/and a woman puts you at a higher risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. Women are more prone to developing carpal tunnel syndrome because their carpal tunnel is much smaller than in men.
Anything that irritates or pressures the median nerve can be the cause of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Carpal tunnel signs and symptoms
Those that have been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
The first sign of weakness first appears in the thumb and is often followed by weakness in punching and gripping.
Tingling & numbness
Typically, that first occurs as a sensation in the middle finger, index, and thumb. Furthermore, numbness, tingling, needles, and pins, also tend to be felt at the fingertips.
Chronic or severe nerve compression leads to muscle atrophy in the muscles surrounding the thumb’s base.
However, if you feel any of those symptoms in the pinky finger, know that you could be potentially facing another condition known as cubital tunnel syndrome, not carpel tunnel syndrome.
Other less pronounced symptoms consistent with carpal tunnel syndrome include:
- The above-mentioned symptoms get worse at night
- Feeling of relief after shaking out the hand
- Symptoms get worse when you extend your wrist to use your keyboard or mouse.
In any case, if you take note of any of these symptoms a visit to your doctor is highly recommended. The doctor can then examine the pattern of your symptoms, conduct a physical examination, send you to make an X-ray scan, make an electromyography test, or even a nerve conduction study.
That’s how doctors determine and diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome, its severity, and recommend therapy.
Is carpal tunnel from console gaming very common?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by repetitive motions. Console gamers, the same as PC gamers, have a routine that includes a high rate of actions per minute.
They are not that prone to back, neck, or shoulder strains because almost always they are comfortably sited at a gaming chair. But because they are handling a controller that requires plenty of repetitive motions, the risk of getting carpal tunnel syndrome is substantial.
At the same time, there is no reliable data that can exactly point to how common is carpal tunnel among console gamers. There are too many to count console gamers from all over the world and it is practically impossible to reliably get data from everywhere.
Will carpal tunnel gaming glove help?
Gaming gloves are designed to help gamers deal with issues and alignments followed by long hours of gameplay. Gaming gloves are engineered to prevent wrist and muscle strains which can lead to alignment such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Furthermore, gaming gloves can help with sweaty hands and help gamers improve their grips over their mouse or controller. That way, they don’t slip off their hands.
So, gaming gloves can keep your hands as dry as possible, you will have a much better grip, and professional eSports gamers can extend their careers as they will significantly reduce their chances of being diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome.
Gaming gloves can be very helpful, especially in relation to carpal tunnel syndrome, but it is important to choose the right pair.
There was a lot of buzz in the past about the use of magnets and copper in gaming gloves. As a result, many gamers, many of whom professional eSports gamers bought gaming gloves featuring magnet and copper.
But as it turned out, there are absolutely no benefits from the magnet and the copper in the gloves. A big group of scientists, including scientists that work for the British National Health Service (NHS), publicly confirmed that it is pointless to use copper or magnet in gaming gloves as there are zero benefits to conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. They based their conclusions on a set of scientific tests.
To make the most of your gaming glove, you need to consider the following factors:
Consider the size of your hand
This is important if you plan to make an online purchase. First, find out what size is the best fit for you, then make the order. That’s unless you plan to buy the gloves personally from a physical store, then you buy them as you buy any gloves, you try until you find the ones that feel comfortable.
Consider your playing type
Your style of playing can also help you determine which gloves are best suited for you. For example, if your playing doesn’t involve too rigid movements, check out the fingerless section. Not only you would be able to save some money, but you will be doing a huge favor to your wrists and improve your gaming experience.
Consider your playing form
Some gaming gloves are engineered especially for console controllers, whereas others for PC gaming. So, pick accordingly. If you buy gaming gloves that aren’t meant for your playing form, don’t expect them to be very helpful.
Famous pro-gamers with the Carpal tunnel
Carpal tunnel is quite common with pro-gamers. Hai Lam, a professional pro-game that played for team Cloud9 retired at the age of 22, and one of the primary reasons he listed was his hand issues. In a statement he made for his fans he said: “My wrist injury is something that I simply cannot ignore.”
“My wrist injury is something that I simply cannot ignore.”Hai Lam
Then there are players such as Clinton “Fear” Loomis and Heo “PawN” Won-Seok that had to miss critical matches because of their wrist issues.
Jimmy “DeMoN” Ho, a professional Dota2 player and a former member of both Meet Your Makers, Nirvana Int, and Evil Geniuses, was part of a documentary in which it was revealed the intense training before any major eSports tournament.
Basically, each day, for weeks at a time, he practiced and trained more than twelve hours each day. That’s the amount of time he spent playing games in front of his PC.
Typically, the team practice started every day from nine in the morning and lasted at least until two in the afternoon. Then he would usually take a break before training on his own for another six to eight hours, sometimes even more.
How to Avoid Carpal Tunnel Syndrome from Gaming?
Now that you have learned a thing or few about carpal tunnel syndrome, it is time to learn what to do about it if you experience some of its symptoms, pain, and discomfort that usually follows it.
Adjust Your Desk and Chair Height
It is essential to keep your desk properly positioned, not too low, not too high. If the desk is too low, your arms will be higher which will pressure your wrists. The added pressure is what causes carpal tunnel syndrome. On the other hand, a high desk can make you constantly leaning forward which will lead to upper back problems. The chair also needs to be properly adjusted so that your hands are properly aligned with your desk. While sitting, your monitor needs to be looking straight at you, not lower, not higher than your eyesight.
Properly Position Your Keyboard
The keyboard needs to be straight in front of you, some 30cm from the edge of the desk and you need to have enough space where you can rest your hands. The wrists need to rest at a natural angle. It is wrong to need to arch your hands over it. To avoid that, find a padded wrist rest for support and comfort.
Get yourself an Ergonomic Mice
There is a wide selection of ergonomic mice that can support your wrist. In most cases, those mice are shaped so that you can hold and use them a bit differently than a standard mouse. That way you don’t pressure the base of your hand that much. Every time you use your mouse, it is important not to twist the wrist, but move your entire forearm instead.
The thing is, many gamers use their wrist for aiming and snapping in FPS games, and that often causes issues with the wrist. Gamers that experience carpal tunnel should try at all time to use their forearm when using their mouse. It might take some time for them to get used to that and it will most likely even affect their accuracy, but it will reduce their pain.
Related article: Best mouse pads for wrist pain
Frequent Breaks are a Must
Anyone that is already dealing with carpal tunnel syndrome needs to take as much as breaks as possible, even if that means missing out on a round of DUST2 or PUBG. Just give your wrist rest so that you can get back to your game later and enjoy your gaming session without any pain or discomfort.
Use a Wrist Splint
Wrists splints are widely used in the gaming community by both amateur and professional gamers. Even IT people that spend a lot of time working on their computers use wrist splints to deal with their carpal tunnel issues.
Make Sure Your Hands are Warm at all time
Those that work in a cold environment are more likely to suffer from stiffness and hand pain. If there isn’t any way to do something about the temperature in your workplace, get yourself gloves that can keep your wrists and hand warm at all times.
Watch Your Posture
Incorrect posture can affect your hands, fingers, and wrist. For example, shoulders rolled forward can strain both muscle and neck nerves which will be felt throughout your entire body which includes your wrists as well. You can learn more about the topic by reading our article about carpal tunnel desk setup
Carpal tunnel stretches
Even after you have been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome there are exercises you can do that can help you deal with your symptoms. Here we will discuss some of the most effective ones. The important thing is to be consistent and give them some time.
However, know that you shouldn’t do any carpal tunnel stretches if you are already in pain from this condition or you feel discomfort from doing the exercises. The point of the exercises is to stop carpal tunnel syndrome from coming back.
The most important thing to remember is to act quickly if you notice any of the symptoms. Or even better, act preventively. We’ve already discussed those things in their respective sections above, so there is no point in repeating ourselves. What you also need to remember is that carpal tunnel syndrome can be very severe and even lead to surgery. So, again, act quickly, and don’t make the mistake made by so many gamers worldwide, amateur and professional gamers, of not taking carpal tunnel seriously.