Physiotherapy and its Intervention in Esports

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The gamers can spend many hours training or competing, and although it seems a sport of little physical wear, it is not like that. The help of a physiotherapist is necessary to avoid certain injuries.

It’s funny or it may sound strange that a physiotherapist can be considered a fundamental part of an eSports team. To play at these levels, physical and mental preparation is required to match, so, like a traditional athlete, they need a team consisting of a coach, trainer, psychologist, and physiotherapist to help the player’s performance be optimal.

How can physiotherapy help the gamer?

The gamers can spend many hours training or competing, and although it seems a sport of little physical wear, it is not like that. We agree that it is not an impact sport, where the body is exposed to blows or falls, such as rugby, football or basketball. But the fact of being many hours sitting in front of a screen and using a keyboard, mouse or a console, predispose the body to suffer injuries such as inflammation of the tendons, bursas, fibrillar tears or muscle contractures. Next, we will detail which are the most common in this type of activity.

Most frequent injuries in eSports

By discard, tendinopathies are the most frequent injuries in this group. They usually appear on wrists, elbows or the phalanges of the hand. The different ways of appearance in relation to the activity are:

Epicondylitis: It is located in the elbow and is due to the overload of the forearm and wrist muscles that are inserted in the epicondyles of the humerus. The continuous tension of the musculature due to the prolonged use of the keyboard or the game controls end up causing overloads in the musculature and inflame the insertion tendons. The lesion is characterized by the appearance of weakness in the forearms and pain that can become incapacitating.

Carpal tunnel syndrome: Compression or trapping of the median nerve at the level of the wrist, just below the flexor retinaculum, through which nerve and tendon structures pass. The inflammation of this zone due to its overuse during the game can cause a compression of the median nerve that gives symptomatology of tingling, throbbing pain and weakness in the hand and forearm.

Quervain syndrome: It is located in the thumb area, it is an inflammation of the tendon sheath of the long abductor and the short extensor of the thumb due to overuse. In video games, control commands are also used that require very fast and repetitive movements of the thumb to press the buttons. In these cases, the tendons of the thumb and its tendon sheath may become damaged, leading to the appearance of this tendinopathy that causes pain and difficulty moving the phalanges and the trapezium-metacarpal joint(which allows oppositional movement of the thumb).

Bursitis: It is the inflammation of the bursas that avoid the friction between some bony structures, as in the shoulder or the elbow. Repetitive and continuous movements can inflame these structures creating pain and functional impotence, such as the use of the mouse or more complex control commands.

Eye fatigue: The muscles of the eye have to do a job to focus closely or when there is too much or too little light, so it can cause itchy eyes, redness, and even headache.

Some recommendations if you’re a gamer …

Perform rest and stretching every 60 minutes. They will help to avoid the retention of liquids in the lower extremity and that the musculature is stiffened by the static positions conditioned by the activity.

Maintain a good physical condition. Maintain well-toned postural muscles to avoid muscle overloads and perform a cardiovascular exercise such as cycling, running, swimming, etc …

Go to the physiotherapist. Ergonomics is important, but we must bear in mind that injuries in gamers appear sooner or later, simply due to the fact that during training and competitions can spend many hours playing and thus harm their health. The reason why it is really necessary to have a physiotherapist nearby that provides follow-up and physical maintenance to prevent injuries and improve performance during the game.

By way of prevention …

Most frequent injuries in eSports

What stretches can I do to avoid tendinous inflammations and muscle contractures? Stretches should be done two to three times and with a duration of 15 seconds each. Next, we will detail the musculature that you should stretch if you spend many hours in front of a screen practicing electronic sports:

Stretching of the cervical region

Upper trapezius: Inclinations to the sides. Bring the ear towards the shoulder on the same side and help with the homolateral hand to finish tilting the head.

Lower trapezius: Bring the nose to both shoulders, help with the hand on the same side to finish tilting the head.

Forearm Stretching:

Flexors and extensors of the wrist: with the elbow stretched and the palm of the hand facing upwards, grasp the fingers of the hand and bring them towards the floor to stretch the flexors. The same movement is made, but with the palm facing the ground to stretch the extensors.

Arm and shoulder stretch

Triceps: With the elbow bent to the maximum, we carry it upwards with the help of our contralateral hand until we feel the tension of the posterior musculature of the arm.

Pectoral: Lift the arm with a slight bend in the elbow (the hand should be at a height above our head) rest the palm of your hand on the frame of a door or a column and take a step forward maintaining support About this.

Infraspinatus: Raise the shoulder in flexion and with the elbow bent, take it with our other hand towards the contralateral shoulder until you feel the tension in the posterior musculature of the arm and the shoulder blade.

Self-stretching of the spine: hanging on a bar without the feet touching the floor (on a trellis,for example) to stretch the entire musculature and autotraining the lumbar vertebrae that can be compressed by the prolonged sitting position.

What you should know…

The fact of being many hours sitting in front of a screen and using a keyboard, mouse or a console, predispose the body to suffer from inflammation of the tendons, bursas, fibrillar tears or muscular contractures

It is convenient to perform the stretches (as proposed) two to three times and with a duration of 15 seconds each.

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