Carpal tunnel syndrome and eSport ergonomics

Reflexion about eSport ergonomics

Last week as many gamers, I was watching ELEAGUE Major on twitch. At the same time, I noticed how it can be physically rude to play on the top level.  Sure, it’s not intense like physical labor, but sitting in one position more than 8 hours a day and doing repetitive motions can be hard on your body. Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most famous gaming injuries.

Can playing video games be bad for your health? Why is ergonomics important in gaming? Today I decided to write a series of articles about eSport ergonomics. The goal is to explain how to perform at your best, in better conditions.

Let’s talk about gaming injuries and RSI

A repetitive strain injury (RSI) is an “injury to the musculoskeletal and nervous systems that may be caused by repetitive tasks. I am not going to draw a picture for you, using keyboard and mouse can lead to pulsing pain, tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome. You can find an non-exhaustive list of body parts impacted by eSport practice :

  • Arms, hands & wrists:  The constant use of the hands can cause wear and tear on the tiny muscles and tendons that are forced to perform the same actions for long periods of time.
  • >Shoulders, neck & back: Bad ergonomics will restrict to you sitting in a position that will inevitably cause major strain on your neck, shoulders, upper and especially lower back. An ergonomic gaming equipment allows you to achieve mind-blowing in-game results. It allows your real body to be in the best condition for physical and cognitive associations.
  • Legs & blood circulation: Obviously anyone who remains in a seated position, without moving any major muscles for hours, can be at risk.
  • Eyes : When your eyes are forced to stay focused on the screen during lengthy game times, you are subject to headaches, blurred vision, nearsightedness, and CVS (Computer Vision Syndrome). For this reason is important to adopt the right posture and takes breaks.

Pro-Gamers Suffering from Game-Related Injury

With the rise of competitions, there are more and more players impacted by this troubles. Here are some of them :

 Alias Player Name Game Injury
Guardian Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovács CS:GO Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Olofmeister Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer CS:GO Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Flash Lee “Flash” Young Ho SC2 RSI
Mvp Jung “Mvp” Jong Hyun SC2 Spine and Neck Issues
Fear Clinton “Fear” Loomis DoTA2 Tennis Elbow
Hai Hai “Hai” Lam LoL RSI
Incontrol Geoff “Incontrol” Robinson DoTA2 Blood clot in knee which may lead to pulmonary embolism
Pawn Heo “pawN” Won-seok LoL Back Pain

Let us make no bones about it. From amateur to casual gamer we spend many hours in front of a computer. At work during the day and at home the evening. You don’t need to be eSport athletes to suffer from injuries.

Conclusion

Ergonomics is new to us, it’s only been accepted in the 1950’s. Corporations are just starting to invest in ergonomic office equipment. Are we going to wait 60 years before to think about specific eSport ergonomics product? Let’s us act before carpal tunnel syndrome a significant public problem.

As enthusiast player, I wish to keep playing as long as possible. In my next post, I will show you some tips to play better and longer.

 

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