Surgeons group to parents: Watch kids for signs of ‘gamer’s thumb’

playing video game

Photo: Yuri_Arcurs/iStockphoto

Rosemont, IL – Overuse of gaming consoles, smartphones, computers and some accessories are causing repetitive stress injuries in children, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

One such injury is De Quervain’s tendinosis, also known as “gamer’s thumb.”

“Forcefully pounding a game controller or computer mouse for hours can cause inflammation of the tendons of the hand, as well as neck and back pain,” hand surgeon and AAOS spokesperson Dori Cage said in a press release. “Parents can identify signs of ‘gamer’s thumb’ if a child complains about pain or locking and clicking in [the] thumb. To help reduce the risk of kids having this condition, limit their daily gaming to two hours or less.”

The academy offers more advice to help guard against injury:

  • If pain occurs, stop playing.
  • Take frequent breaks to stretch. With your palm facing up, gently bend the tip of the thumb toward the base of the index finger, hold it for 30 to 60 seconds, and repeat the stretch 10 times. Then, with the palm flat on a table, lift the thumb up, holding for 10 seconds before relaxing the thumb. Repeat this stretch 10 times.
  • Use good posture.
  • Exercise for at least 35 to 60 minutes per day.

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