Gamer’s Thumb Pain

Is Thumb Pain Gamer's Thumb

The thumb can become be stiff and painful to move. Painful to touch, catching the thumb in bed clothes would wake you immediately!

Gamers know they can feel pain in the thumb whilst playing on the console (Playstation / Xbox etc) but the pain can disappear once playing stops. Then once the playing re-commences, the pain reappears – this is one of the main indicators of Gamer’s Thumb.

This is at the point you have to do something about it! It can seriously affect your ability to perform – and with the new era of online gaming being very lucrative, it can impact a Gamer’s Earnings!

This is very similar to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and can often by mis-diagnosed as such. But we have to make the distinction between the two, because treatments can differ!

The Main Symptoms Of Gamer’s Thumb

If I’m going to diagnose Gamer’s Thumb, I would typically look for these kinds of symptoms:

  • Increased pain during and after playing video games
  • Clicking or locking when using your thumb
  • Swelling at the base of your thumb or wrist
  • Tired feeling in your thumb and wrist
  • Pain can travel up your arm
  • A Pain that is present while playing, but lessens while resting (common with tendon pain)
Gamer's Thumb Rehab Information Booklet
Gamer's Thumb - Information Booklet
Girl showing her hands and wrists for pain therapy
Carpal Tunnel - Information Booklet

Defining Gamer’s Thumb

As a medical practitioner, I started to do some research into what can cause this thumb pain that I was seeing increasingly in my clinics over recent years. That’s when I actually came across the term “gamer’s thumb”.

This is what I found:

  • This has become an increasing, worldwide problem
  • Other problems caused by sedentary lifestyle abound (such as obesity)
  • With the rise of Esports, more and more time is spent gaming
  • Like with other sports there are injuries that occur in e-Sports
  • Primarily it’s caused by Gaming for prolonged periods of time
  • Thumb pain manifests as hand pain, more specifically at the base, front and back of the thumb
  • Medically, the condition is called de Quervain’s Tenosynovitis and it affects more than just gamers (ie. texters, drivers, trades-people). Excessive texting, typing on your keyboard, even racket sports and golfers can get this injury – it doesn’t discriminate
  • Essentially this condition relates to the inflammation of the tendons in your thumb

What Causes Thumb Pain

  • The pain is caused by repetitive movements of your thumb as gamers tend to spend long periods of time, sometimes multiple hours using a console.
  • The constant repetitive movement of the joystick, use of keyboards or mouse buttons are the most common reasons for developing this injury.
  • Add in the stressful environment of gaming and you have the perfect environment for an injury to occur.

This can cause a lot of pain, stiffness and swelling to your thumb area and can really affect your ability to play and perform. In the worst case scenario you might have to stop playing.

Gamer's Thumb Pain Kit

What To Do If You Have A Gamers Thumb?

If you are feeling any of these symptoms make sure you act. Don’t wait until the pain gets really bad – and stops you gaming.

If you leave it too late, it can take months before being able to play again.

Take it seriously! Some gamers develop worse symptoms and have permanent damage to their tendons that affect their gaming performance but could lead to losing the ability to grip, loss of movement of the thumb joint and lead to persistent or chronic thumb pain.

Unfortunately you must rest your thumb and that means stopping gaming or limiting the amount of hours that you are playing. Otherwise this type of injury won’t get better and probably get worse.

Thumb movements, thumb stretching and strengthening exercises are the key. These help reduce pain and help the flexibility and strength of the thumb.

The stretching and strengthening exercises should be incorporated as part of a warm up for playing, and carried forward in your life to help prevent re-occurrence of this painful condition. The strengthening of your wrist and thumbs with resistance bands really gets you there!

With the correct Gamer’s Thumb Pain Kit you can look after this one yourself. Best of luck!

(once it has been properly diagnosed and overseen by a medical professional)!

Sore Thumb and hand

Frequently Asked Questions:

What To Do If You Have Gamer's Thumb?

Get a diagnosis first, and then take some rest. Consider using Hot/Cold Therapy or a Thumb Brace to restrict range of movement and support the injury. Once you’re feeling a bit better you can engage in some Movement, Stretch Exercises and Strength Exercises to help prevent it coming back.

Does Gamer's Thumb Require Surgery?

Generally Gamer’s Thumb does not require surgery, unless the underlying cause is more chronic. For example, advanced osteoarthritis may have caused the joints in the hand to break down, so you should immediately consult a medical professional and have a scan if your pain persists, or if it radiates to another part of your arm.

What Causes Gamer's Thumb?

It’s primarily an over-use injury, which occurs when people spend too much time doing repetitive movements of the hand, fingers and thumb. You can develop a form of Gamer’s Thumb from other activities such as long hours at a desk job, or manual work such as mechanic or electrician. Other causes such as Osteoarthritis need a scan. Consult a professional.

Pack for gamer's thumb pain treatment
Gamer’s Thumb Kit
£ 59.99
  • EUR: € 69.99
  • USD: $ 79.99
Injury or pain in the hand or wrist rehab pack
Carpal Tunnel (Wrist) Pain Kit
£ 59.99
  • EUR: € 69.99
  • USD: $ 79.99
Neck pain from work or your job treatment
Neck Pain Kit
£ 59.99
  • EUR: € 69.99
  • USD: $ 79.99