15 Emerging Video Game Injuries

Gamers, like traditional athletes, are prone to injuries of their own. Search through our library of video game injuries below, learn how to identify them, and prevent them from occurring in your gaming career.

Identify the problem to prevent it from occurring

Each of the video game injuries or ailments in our library contains a thorough explanation of the symptoms, pertinent anatomy, pathophysiology, common mechanism(s) of injury, and prevention and/or rehabilitation.

With this information, you may be able to identify errors in your body position or mechanics that may lead to injury. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Postural syndromes

Often overlooked, prolonged sitting is a major factor in some of the most common video game injuries and ailments.

Sitting increases the pressure on the intervertebral discs. If your posture is poor, the pressure may be greater than 150% of your body weight on the discs.

Increased pressure on the discs and bones of the spine can lead to early degeneration (wearing down of the bones & joints) in both the lower back and neck. Spinal degeneration can lead to damage of the nerves or blood vessels that exit the spine and travel to the rest of your body.

Prolonged seated postures also create a remarkable imbalance in musculature. Most importantly are the effects in the hip and shoulder regions of the body.

See: upper crossed syndrome, lower crossed syndrome, tension-type headaches, sacroiliac dysfunction, sciatica (piriformis syndrome)

Repetitive strain injuries

All types of gaming, whether PC or console, increase the risk for elbow, wrist, and hand injuries and ailments.

Through constant use of a controller or keyboard & mouse, there is potential risk created by the positions of the hands & wrists. Repetitive strain injuries (i.e. overuse tendinosis or tenosynovitis) are the most common video game injuries, and they are infamous in professional gaming. Some esports athletes have even been forced to retire due to these types of injuries.

Fortunately, the pathophysiology and mechanism of repetitive strain injuries are well researched. The rehabilitation of these video game injuries is simple and straight forward, and the prognosis is usually excellent. Following resolution, the prevention of these video game injuries is also simple and straight forward.

See: mouse elbow, gamer’s thumb, mouse shoulder, medial epicondylosis

Nerve impingements

Nerve impingements are another sub-group of video game injuries that are common in both casual gaming and esports. Some nerves in your body are in areas more prone to insult, and sometimes your body position or movements can cause irritation to one of these nerves.

Namely, the most common nerves for gamers to irritate include the median nerve at the wrist, the ulnar nerve at the elbow, the brachial plexus under the collar bone, and the sciatic nerve in the gluteal region.

See: carpal tunnel syndrome, cubital tunnel syndrome, thoracic outlet syndrome (brachial plexopathy), sciatica (piriformis syndrome)

Other video game injuries and ailments

Other common video game injuries include eye strain and headaches. Eye strain, in particular, is an ailment in which every gamer is at risk. You may also experience tension-type headaches or migraines from many hours gaming.

A final, less common ailment that gamers may develop is called deep vein thrombosis. This is a clot formation from prolonged sitting and inactivity which can lead to a life threatening issue called pulmonary embolism.

See: eye strain, tension-type headaches, migraine headaches, deep vein thrombosis

video game injuries

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