When Video Games Hurt

By: Jessa Goddard, Medical Reporter
By: Jessa Goddard, Medical Reporter

Knoxville (WVLT) - We know Americans' are increasingly spending more and more time on the computer or couch watching television, it's that lifestyle that is contributing to the obesity epidemic.

And we've longed blamed video games for making our children lazy.

But now, new interactive games are causing a different problem.

Medical Reporter Jessa Goddard is covering East Tennessee Health with more on when video games hurt.

Your children might have one under the Christmas tree this year.

But before they hook it up and play for hours, some stretching and light exercise might be in order.

Because an increasing number of players are reporting injuries being dubbed Wii Elbow and Nintendo Thumb.

Some new video games are finally succeeding in getting kids off the couch and moving around.

And many of them are turning out to be more exercise than some players are used to.

Spending hours waving a game controller is resulting in aches and pains commonly associated with exercise, like aching backs and sore shoulders.

"And so when we go out and do 30 minutes of a boxing game that's now interactive at home, probably the next day you're going to feel it and probably should maybe again think about stretching before that," says Dr. Tim Renfree, Orhopaedic Surgeon.

After playing the boxing game, players are reporting soreness in their arms, shoulders and torso.

But even following less intense games, players say the repetitive motion is causing numbness and tingling in their thumbs, wrists and elbows.

Orthopaedic Surgeon Doctor Tim Renfree says what's being dubbed Nintendo Thumb is more likely tendonitis.

"Tendonitis or any -itis is actually inflammation. So tendonitis is something that you're not used to doing. You'll never see a pro tennis player actually get tendonitis of the elbow."

Renfree says as gamers spend more time playing a particular game, the soreness will subside.

In the meantime, stretching will help players avoid soreness and injuries.

To prevent Wii Elbow, some players have even started wearing a brace.

A more obvious solution is to stop playing, but tell that to any avid video gamer who's just gotten his hands on the newest release.


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