A weird thing happens when you get older. You go and do perfectly normal things, things you do all the time like getting out of bed or bending over to pick something up, and all of a sudden you are injured. A muscle gets pulled, a tendon gets tweaked, and then you spend a week in pain explaining to people that all you did was try and tie your shoes without sitting down first.
In my case, it was from playing video games. And I’m not talking about some marathon all-nighter, which is something I used to do on a regular basis in my teens. I’m talking about less than an hour of play, here and there, daily but not to an excessive amount.
And then a couple days ago I woke up and couldn’t feel my thumb.
I Got an RSI from Video Gaming
I contemplated calling the doctor, but my thumb didn’t actually hurt, and it wasn’t even red or swollen so I felt kind of silly and decided to wait. I took off my nail polish and confirmed it wasn’t due to an infected nail. I tried massaging it and doing thumb stretches. I tried to figure out where the numbness was actually coming from. Then I did some Googling and managed to convince myself it didn’t mean my thumb was going to shrivel up and fall off, so I decided to wait and see how it was the next day.
I’m now three days into it and some feeling is coming back. And I managed to find out that this wasn’t a rare occurrence. It can be called many things- Playstation Thumb, Gamer’s Grip or Nintendonitis, but the real medical term is repetitive strain injury or RSI. Apparently I overdid it playing Marvel’s Spider-Man.
Feel old much?
I guess I am a little out of practice. There’s a lot of web slinging, crime fighting and taking out big bosses. And I may have resorted to some noob techniques like frantically mashing all the buttons while jerking the controller around like the added movement is going to help kick some bad guy butt. And maybe I did push my play time a little longer than I should have because I really wanted to take out Kingpin.
And so now I have to keep explaining to my son how “Mommy can’t play Spider-Man because she can’t feel her thumb.” Because the only way this is going to get better is with a little thumb rest and limited gaming time in the future. If you’re reading this and you’re planning to get all those PS4 trophies then make sure you take a break once in a while. Trust me, a little rest can go a long way.
Lesson learned! But now I’m a little afraid to see what’s going to be hurting after I take my son roller skating for the first time, which I hope to do soon. Wish me luck 🙂