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April 01, 2021 5 min read

For athletes, injuries can really be devastating, and if you’re an esports star, you don’t want to end your promising career with it, most especially just because of thumb pain, a.k.a. the Gamer’s Thumb!

If you’re an avid video gamer, you often feel a thumb ache while or after video-game bingeing. And because you take each play as seriously, most of the time you just can’t help but ignore it until it becomes too painful that you can’t even grip a game console, hold a joystick, or press a button or key anymore.

What is Gamer’s Thumb and How Do You Get It?

De Quervain’s Stenosing Tenosynovitis is Gamer’s thumb to console, PC, and mobile gamers, and is an inflammation of the protective sheath that wraps around the tendons that move your thumb — the abductor pollicis longus and extensor pollicis brevis. Repetitive use of your thumb causes these tendons to rub against each other and become irritated until the sheath is thickened, resulting in pain and inflammation. It’s a common cause of thumb pain in gaming but may also occur in other situations that involve repetitive gripping, grasping, clenching, or twisting of the wrists. Other causes may include:

  • Mobile phone use due to repeated pressing of the phone keys
  • Daily activities such as opening doorknobs and wringing wet clothes
  • Sports and recreational activities like golf and racket sports, and playing piano
  • Occupational overuse from carpentry, office works, and needlework
  • Direct trauma or injury to the wrist below the thumb
  • Pregnancy, especially during the first three months of delivery, due to hormonal changes during pregnancy specifically on fluid retention and the mechanical stress on the thumb due to awkward hand position from holding/breastfeeding the baby.

How Do You Know It's Gamer's Thumb?

If you try to place your thumb across your palm, fold your fingers into a fist, and then move your wrist towards your pinky, and you have thumb pain, then you’re likely to have a Gamer’s Thumb — this is the Finkelstein Test, a maneuver to confirm if you're really suffering from Gamer's Thumb. The common symptoms are:

  • Thumb pain after long hours of video gaming
  • Thumb and wrist pain that may extend up the arm and get worse with movement
  • Pain and swelling at the base of the thumb
  • Clicking, locking, or popping sensation when moving the thumb.
  • Painful and weak grip

A SHORT STORY TO TELL…

An Opportunity Lost…

These days, many young individuals find it hard to tear themselves away from video games as many of them have already built a life out of video gaming, and the last thing on their minds is losing not in the game but in having the opportunity that these video games can offer them due to injuries and more so from as little as a thumb pain.

Take the case of Call‑of‑Duty gamer Thomas “The ZooMaa” Paparatto of the New York Subliners who has struggled with the thumb injury which even required surgery to alleviate the pain. Not only that his thumb pain has caused him stress and anxiety while playing through it but also forced him to retire at the young age of 25.

But still life full of options and possibilities… 

And as young as he still is with full of ambitions and a never-say-die attitude, he always looks forward to seeing opportunities where he can utilize his abilities and still engage in the game that he has played with and put his “heart and soul into every single day for eight long years,” and takes this situation as "one door closing and another one opening," Thomas says in Twitter.

How To Prevent Gamer’s Thumb 

  1. Avoid excessive game playing. This can be tough, but surely a decision that’s worth it. 
  2. Don’t forget to stretch before playing. Simple stretches can help reduce your risk of getting a Gamer’s Thumb.
  3. Take frequent rest breaks. This allow your tired hands and thumbs to relax before returning to play. You may also find this time to do some thumb exercises. See Gamer’s Thumb Exercisesbelow.

How To Get Rid Of Gamer’s Thumb

If you’re already dealing with thumb pain, there are few tricks that you can go about fixing a Gamer’s Thumb. But first of all, as an immediate remedy if you're already dealing with a swollen thumb, you may apply the RICE protocol (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) and then STRICTLY follow the following:

  1. TAKE A BREAK FROM GAMING. The first wise thing that you can do to relieve the thumb pain is to stop doing what’s causing it. 
  2. PROTECT YOUR INJURED THUMB. A thumb splint may protect while the tendons are healing. You may use a compression bandage to control the pain and swelling while limiting your thumb movements.
  3. SEEK PHYSICAL/OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY. There are methods that can help with the pain and exercises which can both prevent and treat Gamer’s Thumb. Heat and cold therapies and therapeutic ultrasound are some modalities that may be used in combination with specific exercises for the thumb. But these need to be performed by trained professionals so that a thorough evaluation may be performed before jumping into these options.
  4. CORTICOSTEROIDS AND ANTI-INFLAMMATORY MEDICATIONS. NSAIDs can reduce the pain and swelling, but if these persist, corticosteroids may be an option for more aggressive treatment.
  5. HAND SURGERY. For resistive cases, surgery may be the only option to relieve the tension in the tendon sheath.

EXERCISES YOU CAN DO WHILE GAMING TO PREVENT GAMER’S THUMB

  • Stretch your thumb by extending it further out and back with your palm facing up. You may use your other hand to stretch it further. Hold it for 30 seconds and repeat several times.
  • Bend your thumb across your palm and then extend it back, repeating 10 to 15 times.
  • Make small circles with your thumb 15 times in each direction.
  • Alternately bend and straighten the joint in the middle of your thumb 15 times.
  • Alternately close and open your hand 15 times.
  • Move your hand at the wrists side to side, repeating 15 times.

And anyone can turn to RecovaproIt can help get the ZooMaa back from a Gamer’s Thumb, and so are you!… 

It’s pretty hard to restrain yourself from doing the things that you love doing just because of thumb pain, especially if this gives you the life that you’re happy living with and have been wanting since. Here, we give you insights on how Recovapro can help you recover from thumb pain.

Recovapro is an innovative tool that provides therapeutic vibration that can stimulate healing and recovery once you’ve got yourself an injury like thumb pain. If you’re like Thomas who has undergone surgery, Recovapro can alleviate post‑surgical pain that you may have by flushing out the pain substances through increased blood flow and massaging effect. The vibrations received by the healing tissues can prevent or minimize the development of scars, which can cause pain, adhesions, and stiffness by preventing its formation right from the start, or breaking the already formed ones while realigning the newly forming tissues. Vibration therapy can stimulate the growth of collagen, which fills up the gaps caused by the damage.

So once you’ve got thumb pain, don’t let it stand too long and stop you from playing. Most of all, don’t end your gaming career with a Gamer’s Thumb! Hit it with Recovapro

 To know how, click here: How to Fix Gamer’s Thumb with RECOVAPRO


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