Can you get tennis elbow playing video games?
7 May 2023

Introduction: Gaming and Tennis Elbow

As an avid gamer and blogger, I often find myself spending hours on end playing video games. Many of us gamers are all too familiar with the aches and pains that come with long gaming sessions. One such ache that gamers often complain about is tennis elbow. But can you really get tennis elbow from playing video games? In this article, we'll explore this possibility and discuss various aspects related to gaming and tennis elbow.

Understanding Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is a painful condition that affects the tendons connecting the forearm muscles to the outer part of the elbow. It's often caused by repetitive stress to the muscles and tendons, leading to small tears in the tendons. Despite its name, tennis elbow can affect anyone who performs repetitive movements that strain the elbow joint. So, it's possible that gaming could contribute to the development of tennis elbow.

Gaming and Repetitive Strain Injuries

Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is a general term used to describe pain and discomfort caused by performing repetitive tasks. Video gaming often involves repetitive hand and finger movements, such as pressing buttons, moving a joystick or using a mouse. These repetitive actions can lead to various types of RSI, including carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis. Tennis elbow is a form of tendonitis, so it's worth considering whether gaming can cause tennis elbow.

Are Gamers at Risk for Tennis Elbow?

While it's true that gaming involves repetitive hand and arm movements, the risk of developing tennis elbow from gaming largely depends on various factors. These include the duration and intensity of gaming sessions, the type of controller or input device used, and the individual's overall health and fitness. Some gamers may be more prone to developing tennis elbow than others, and it's essential to recognize the signs and take preventive measures.

Identifying the Symptoms of Tennis Elbow

If you're concerned about developing tennis elbow from gaming, it's important to recognize the symptoms. Common signs of tennis elbow include:

  • Pain on the outer part of the elbow
  • Weakness in the forearm and wrist
  • Stiffness in the elbow joint
  • Tenderness around the elbow

If you experience any of these symptoms, it's essential to consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Preventing Tennis Elbow While Gaming

Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to reduce the risk of developing tennis elbow from gaming:

  1. Take regular breaks: Give your hands and arms a rest by taking short breaks every 30 to 60 minutes. This can help reduce the strain on your muscles and tendons.
  2. Stretch and strengthen: Incorporate exercises that target the forearm muscles, such as wrist curls and reverse wrist curls, to help prevent tennis elbow.
  3. Use proper equipment: Choose a gaming controller or input device that is ergonomic and comfortable to use. This can help minimize the strain on your hands and arms.
  4. Practice good posture: Maintaining proper posture while gaming can help reduce stress on your muscles and joints.

Treatment Options for Tennis Elbow

If you suspect that you have developed tennis elbow from gaming, it's crucial to seek medical advice. Treatment options for tennis elbow may include:

  • Rest: Taking a break from gaming and other activities that aggravate the condition is essential for recovery.
  • Ice and anti-inflammatory medications: Applying ice and taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications can help reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Physical therapy: A physical therapist can provide exercises and stretches to strengthen the forearm muscles and promote healing.
  • Braces or splints: Wearing a brace or splint specifically designed for tennis elbow can help support the affected arm and reduce strain on the tendons.

In severe cases, your healthcare provider may recommend more invasive treatment options, such as corticosteroid injections or surgery.

Conclusion: Can You Get Tennis Elbow from Playing Video Games?

While it's not common, it's possible to develop tennis elbow from playing video games, especially if you engage in long gaming sessions and don't take the necessary precautions. Being aware of the risk factors, practicing prevention techniques, and seeking medical advice if you experience symptoms are essential steps to keep your gaming experience pain-free and enjoyable.