How Professional Gamers Deal With Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
While the term is not commonly known, carpal tunnel syndrome is rather common. It was first fully described in detail after the end of World War II, and it is estimated that 5% of people from the U.S. suffer from this syndrome.
CTS occurs when the median nerve that travels through the passage in the wrist gets pressed and even damaged. This will result in tingling, numbness, and aching in the wrist and fingers. Besides genetics, the main reason for this syndrome is a constant and repetitive use of the wrist. Both overextending and flexing, as well as the unnatural position of the wrist, can further increase the risk of CTS. Both the inflammation and swelling can cause pressure on the nerve and reduce the blood flow that can lead to CTS.
When talking about gaming (especially professional gaming), due to the position of the hand and wrist while using the keyboard and mouse, aching in wrists can occur after longer sessions.
There are several things professional gamers do to lower the risk of injuries and CTS.
Adjusting the Desk Height
Having the wrong desk height can lead to several problems. If the desk is too high, it can create additional pressure on the back, which can further lead to severe back problems. Furthermore, high tension in shoulders can cause players to keep their shoulders higher, which can put pressure on the mentioned nerve that originates in the neck. On the other hand, the desk that is too low will put more pressure on the wrists, which might lead to CTS.
Chair Height and Keyboard Position
Similar to the desk, the second thing you’d need to do is to properly adjust your chair. Almost all of the chairs today have the height adjustment, and you should make sure that the chair is neither too low nor too high. Players should be sitting comfortably and directly in front of the monitor. The monitor should always be on the eye-level.
When it comes to the keyboard, it should be located directly in front of the user. Furthermore, it should always be on the edge of the desk, leaving enough space for the arms. Finally, there are mouse pads that come with a wrist rest that might help you keep your wrist in a proper position.
Wrist Splints and Exercises
Using wrist splints is one of the ways to reduce the pain and symptoms of CTS. Moreover, it is recommended as one of the treatments for the earliest stages of the syndrome. Since CTS occurs mostly during the night in the early stages, the doctors recommend wearing splints while sleeping. However, since hands are the main tools when gaming, it might also be a good idea to take additional precautions.
Finally, doing occasional exercises and stretches while and before/after gaming sessions is always welcomed. Doing simple bending and stretching of both fingers and wrists, as well as shakes, can help with the blood flow and elevate any pain and discomfort you might feel after a while.