Video game systems now have physical fitness and full body gaming programs. Injuries may occur.
Wii, PlayStation, and XBox Games
The Nintendo Wii has games that allow players to get off the couch and make real actions, such as golf, bowling, and tennis. Players run the risk of hitting another player, or the TV, with the game controller, but there are other kinds of repetitive stress and musculoskeletal injuries that can be caused by these types of Wii Games.1 The Sony Playstation Move controller and games carry similar risks. The Microsoft XBox 360 Kinect has a variation on the live-action games that does not use a hand-held controller; the player’s whole body controls the game. Multiple injuries, including strains and broken bones, may occur.2
Injuries and Prevention
There is a term called “Nintendonitis”, which refers to repetitive strain injuries. The thumbs, knees, and shoulders are all at risk from the actions of swinging bats, dodging punches, or hitting tennis balls. It is important to stretch and not overwork muscles. Cuts and bruises may occur from hitting furniture accidentally, and hitting another player is also a risk. Players need to spread out from each other and play away from furniture. Padding sharp corners of furniture is another option. Players should always wear the controller’s wrist straps, as well.3 It is best if players can play on an exercise mat or carpet, and even wearing sneakers can prevent injuries to the knees, feet, and ankles. A well-lit room can also help, but overhead light fixtures are a danger, especially in XBox games that require jumping. Players should remember that these virtual exercises are considered physical activity, so the guidelines for any exercise apply to video gaming. Warming up and stretching can prevent pain. Again, it is important to have enough room to exercise as well; the Kinect “requires a 10×12 foot area”.4
Professionals recommend setting a time limit to prevent video game and repetitive injuries. While real sports use many areas of the body, these games repeat similar, but smaller, motions over and over. Tendonitis is always a risk, as well as carpal tunnel syndrome. Massage therapy can help players recover from these injuries.5 Chiropractic adjustments are safe for players of all ages, and they can help with the musculoskeletal problems and migraines associated with screen time and gaming. Chiropractors often give advice on posture, stretches, and exercises that can prevent future injuries.6
2, 4 http://www.biokineticspt.com/blog/uncategorized/video-game-injuries-prepare-before-you-play.html
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