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Video Game Craze can lead to Hand and Wrist Injuries in Children - by Rae Bontekoe, OT, Certified Hand Therapist
Video games encompass 80% of entertainment in American homes and children spend hours in front of the television and computer monitors playing video games. Rae Bontekoe, OTR/L, Certified Hand Therapist, states that engaging in these gaming activities can lead to over use injuries of the hand and upper extremities.
“It is important for children to take the proper precautions when playing video games as it is for them to warm-up and safeguard against injury before a basketball game,” comments Rae.
Video games are very popular and hand therapists are working to keep young hands healthy as they enjoy this activity. Playing video games involves holding the controller with an intense grip, punching small buttons repetitively, and sharp/quick wrist movements.
When our children play excessively it may lead to musculoskeletal disorder or repetitive stress injuries such as “Nintendo Thumb,” an injury that causes swelling at the base of the thumb. Continued stress on tendons, nerves, and ligaments in children’s hands and arms could lead to long term ailments such as lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow), tendonitis, bursitis, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
The American Society of Hand Therapists recommends hand and wrist exercises to reduce the risk of future injuries. Handouts of these simple stretches may be obtained at our Cheboygan and Indian River Clinics. Rae also offers free 15 minute screenings for anyone who may have concerns with their wrist, hand, elbow, or shoulder pain or symptoms.
Tips and healthily guidelines for video gamers of all ages:
“We stress the importance of developing good, healthy video game habits early on in children to prevent hand and wrist injuries in adulthood,” comments Rae. This can also carry over into other aspects of life where there is similar injury risk such as computer and musical instrument use.
For more information about prevention and professional Hand Therapy, please visit or call our clinics in Cheboygan and Indian River.