I used to be able to game for hours (all day and night) non-stop without any issues. All I needed was the occasional bio and food break. Other than that, the physical side of things never came into question as far as ergonomic health went. But you know what? It should come into question. Hell, only an omniscient being would know the sheer volume of clicks that has gone into these fingers over the past decade and a half. And make no mistake, the stress put onto your fingers adds up over time. I mean, when I hold an angle when I play CS:GO, and an enemy runs out, I hold down that Mouse 1 with surprising force. And when I’m playing DotA, I’m pretty much spamming right click to move somewhere the entire game. It’s really a marvel that my G400s has lasted me as long as it has! In any case, I started to notice symptoms in my fingers a year or so ago. At first, I didn’t pay much attention to it, but after a while, I simply couldn’t ignore the discomfort. I was forced to do something about the sneaking pain in my mouse fingers when it started to affect my performance in-game. To me, that was unacceptable. For the sake of performance and health, I decided to look into stretches and exercises I could do to alleviate the pain and stop it altogether. I found a routine, stuck with it, and what can I say, I’m back. I try my best to do the routine after every game or every hour. Here are two resources that demonstrate a variety of stretches for all of your anti-RSI (Repetitive Stress Injury) and anti-CTS (Carpal Tunnel Syndrome) needs.
1. Dr. Levi Harrison’s Hand & Wrist Exercises for Gamers.
This one is really good and the video contains a variety of stretches you can do for your fingers and wrists. I found doing these to be very effective for my mouse fingers. If you don’t want to watch the full video, here it is in image format.
2. Dr. Levi Harrison’s Hand & Wrist Exercises for Gamers, Part 2.
Dr. Levi Harrison uploaded another video recently with more focus on wrists and forearms. Definitely going to be adding these to my routine as it’s not all about the fingers! Everything is connected.
3. Will Harris RSI Prevention Stretches
This compilation has 15 stretches, but I found #10 and onwards to be most useful. There is some overlap with the previous videos, but the visuals are helpful and the stretches are done a little differently.
There has already been a number of high-profile injuries that had a heavy impact on the pro scene: Fear, Olofmeister, and n0thing to name just a few. RSI and CTS are both very real and it will probably become more and more commonplace as we continue to game. I plan on gaming for a long time to come and when I'm older, I don’t plan on being the gamer equivalent of that guy at the YMCA on a Sunday who can only play 1 game of pickup ball because of his swollen joints. Of course, it’ll be a Sunday pug or MM game, but you get the picture. So develop a routine, stick with it, and game on!
-SZ | Kevin