Will gaming cause RSI and could one wrong swipe of the mouse stop your child from ever playing games again?

Gaming puts the wrist and it’s delicate tendons under a crazy amount of strain. Gaming causes RSI in children if no precautions are taken.

If the correct measures aren’t taken to ensure a healthy wrist then it can cause RSI or carpal tunnel.

These conditions happen when the nerves and tendons get pinched or inflamed. A lot of gamers have wrist problems and don’t know how to prevent or fix it.

But, there’s hope

What if I told you, that you could game all night without the worry of RSI?

How is that possible?

Let me elaborate on the ins and outs of the wrist and how you can make yours bulletproof.

does gaming cause RSI

Does Gaming Cause RSI In Gamer Children

One thing parents should understand about video games is what the kids are actually doing with their mouse and keyboard.

A lot of professional gamers in Fortnite that are very young, have quit playing games professionally because their intense gaming causes RSI.

It isn’t the same as using the keyboard and mouse at quite a slow pace at an office job.

They are intensely swiping their mouse around, flicking to different targets, making the smallest micro adjustments with their wrist and ferociously pressing different combinations of keys on the keyboard.

For example if they play a competitive game like Fortnite they are doing hundreds of actions per minute on the mouse and keyboard.

Imagine building a skyscraper in game versing another opponent doing the same thing while trying to kill each other. Each wall or floor placed is a keypress, each doorway or editing the shape of the placed wall is a few keypresses and moving around in multiple directions is a ton of keypresses. All while swiping their mouse around and clicking trying to get a shot at the opponent.

It’s extremely intense and taxing on their tendons in the wrist. If proper care of the wrist isn’t considered then there could be big implications like RSI (repetitive stress injury) or carpal tunnel down the road. If people in the current age are getting these conditions while typing at an office job, the risk for kids playing strenuous games is multiplied dramatically.

These conditions are more effectively prevented with stretching and strengthening of the wrist tendons, compared to decreasing the time of playing.

Stretching the wrist. These stretches should be done before playing games, in between games and after playing for the day. These exercises should be done 30seconds each side.
Strengthening the wrist. Do this exercise very gently for 10-15reps for 3 sets every other day.

Do this quick routine consistently to get bulletproof wrists and tendons.

can gaming cause RSI

How Sensitivity Affects Wrist Pain

Gaming puts strain on delicate tendons. Understand how they get affected.

It is also important to understand how the sensitivity of the mouse affects the level of tendon use. The higher the mouse sensitivity the more distance the in game character will look in a direction when the mouse is moved. If a sensitivity is too low or a mousepad is too slow, it will require more force to move the mouse and in turn more strain on the wrist.

If a sensitivity is too high it will only recruit the small tendons in the wrist to aim in the game and can cause strain directly on those tendons by overuse. It is a good idea to have a mouse sensitivity that is not an extreme on the spectrum.

Sensitivity conversions are different between each game but here’s a general rule of thumb to use. See how much you have to move your mouse to do a 360 rotation in game. If your child has a sensitivity that is too low or too high, it can potential make gaming cause RSI.

If it does it while moving a few inches then it’s way too fast and if it only does somewhere near 180 degrees with an entire mousepad the sensitivity could be too low.

If your child is used to the same sensitivity after a year or more of playing then it is fine to stick with it because it will be too much of an adjustment to switch.

Choose A Good Mousepad To Avoid Injury

A mouse is nothing without a mousepad.

The surface the mouse is on greatly determines how fast the friction and glide is. Buying a good mousepad is important, you don’t want one too fast or too slow. If it’s too fast it will be uncontrollable and slippery.

This will make you tense your wrist more and that just puts more strain on the tendons. You also don’t want a mousepad that is too slow because that will require a lot of force to move the mouse across the surface.

A mousepad should have good enough glide to release a lot of pressure on the wrist. Gaming is repetitive moving of the mouse in every direction for hours.

Make sure that your child has the right equipment if they want to game without getting wrist problems. I recommended some great mousepads in an article here.

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When To Take Breaks And How Long

Moderation is key.

It’s very important to take regular breaks when playing video games.

If you play for longer than a few hours at a time you can risk pain in your wrist from overuse.

Usually 3 hours at a time is the max someone should play at a time and 1 hour if it is very intensive like aim training.

The break should last anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour. I have an article about this here (article link).

The Correct Mouse Can Prevent RSI

Did you know you can buy top of the market gaming mice that prevent RSI?

I have an article on those specific mice here.

A good mouse is very important when it comes to wrist health because this is the equipment that the wrist has to control for hours on end.

If a mouse is too heavy it will cause more strain on the wrist. Lightweight mice have risen in popularity in the past year because they provide comfort and ease of moving the mouse.

A mouse that is too heavy will make gaming cause RSI in the long run.

Some of these mice weigh only 60grams which puts minimal pressure on the tendons.

If you don’t feel like buying a new mouse there are little accessories that can make standard mouse move faster which are called mouse skates.

Mouse skates are plastic bits that go under the mouse and reduce the friction of the mouse gliding across the mousepad.

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How Wrist Position Can Prevent Injury

How you hold your mouse could mean injury.

Another factor to ensure a healthy wrist is to make sure your child holds the mouse correctly. Tell them to hold the mouse naturally as if it was their starting position.

If their wrist is bent left or right at the starting position then that is a sign of future injury. Make sure the starting position is neutral with the wrist straight.

Gym & Weightlifting Affects Wrist Pain

If you do gym or bodyweight exercises and play video games shortly after, you are at risk of injury.

Weightlifting does increase endurance of the wrist, but only if given time to recover.

If your kid does gym or any muscle exercises it is important to know that there has to be a delay after doing these exercises and playing games.

Using the wrist for video games after doing pushups, bench press or any exercise that involves putting the wrist under load will greatly increase the chance of getting wrist inflammation. The wrist needs a good 1 or 2 hour break after being put under tension with exercises.

It is a good idea to do physical activity involving the wrist at the start or end of the day with a 1 hour delay between exercise and playing video games.

Watch out for exercises that put the wrist into flexion under heavy load such as pushups and bench press. Overstrain of the wrist through weightlifting and gaming will potentially make gaming cause RSI and carpal tunnel down the track.

Make sure your kid pays extra attention to form if doing gym exercises and as a parent you should observe their form and also learn what proper form is for each exercise. It’s easy to search up form for an exercise if you know the name of the exercise.

Gym exercises weaken the wrist, don’t strain it even more with gaming.

Conclusion

Gaming for hours on end is now possible without injury.

Take the right precautions, get the right gear and play the right amount of time.

Then you’re golden.

The wrists and it’s tendons are like a gatling gun. It has a certain heat threshold before it shuts down from overuse. Now we know how to constantly build up that threshold.

You can spend your nights endlessly playing if you follow these steps.

Game on.

weight lifting can cause RSI and carpal tunnel