Video Game Injuries a Holiday Hazard

Physical therapy group urges parents to give safety a thumbs up

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THURSDAY, Dec. 28, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- For those children who got new video games and systems this Christmas, parents need to make sure their youngsters don't suffer hand and thumb injuries caused by overuse of those games, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) says.

Constant stress on tendons, nerves and ligaments in children's hands and arms can cause long-term problems such as tendonitis, bursitis and carpal tunnel syndrome, according to Cindy Miles, owner of a pediatrics physical therapy practice in Whitehall, Pa.

Symptoms of repetitive stress injuries caused by overuse of video games include fatigue and loss of strength, minor or acute aches and pains, burning and tingling.

The APTA offers the following tips on how to prevent injuries caused by overuse of video games:

  • Keep wrists straight. Don't let them bend downward when holding a game controller.
  • Practice good posture while playing. Sit in a chair that provides solid back support and keep your feet comfortably on the floor.
  • Stretch and move. Get up and stretch about every 20 minutes to give your head, neck and shoulder muscles a break.
  • Watch for warning signs such as headaches, fatigue, muscle pain or cramping. If you notice these signs, take a break or do a different activity.

More information

The Nemours Foundation offers advice for parents on healthy habits for children using television, video games, and the Internet.

SOURCE: American Physical Therapy Association, news release, December 2006

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