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Gamers are susceptible to a unique set of injuries and ailments that are entirely preventable, but if left untreated, can have catastrophic effects on their ability to participate and perform.
Sedentary lifestyles, poor ergonomics, lack of training protocols, and countless repetitive motions, puts players at risk for a multitude of disorders. What may originate from something as seemingly innocent as mild wrist discomfort or tingling can progress to persistent pain and disability.
Repetitive use of the muscles of the arm, wrist, and hand causes small, often unnoticeable damage. As this damage builds, healthy muscles adapts a distinct architecture with less strength and a higher susceptibility to injury.
Nerves, responsible for transmitting impulses from the brain, are exquisitely sensitive to compression, often from armrest and peripherals. Mechanical keyboards place a small, but consequential bend in the wrist that compresses a major nerve of the hand. Longstanding, repetitive trauma damages the connective tissue and fatty coating of nerves, eventually leading to irreversible changes. Vertical keyboards can place the wrist and upper arm into non-ideal positions and increase the chance of injury.
Furthermore, sitting for prolonged periods with poor posture places the neck, back, and upper extremity in non-ideal positions. Characteristic “gamer posture” of a forward head and hunched back leads to tightening of chest muscles and lengthening of back muscles, both resulting in dysfunctional changes.
If left untreated, esports injuries can be difficult to rehabilitate, and lead to permanent, persistent pain. However, with only a few simple interventions, the majority can be completely prevented.