BEHAVIOR
March 17, 2009

Gamers' Hands Risk Injury

Prolonged time holding the controls of a video game has provoked tendonitis. When your hands start to hurt, it's time to turn off...
Painful lumps found on a 12-year old girl's hand have been traced to extensive PlayStation sessions. While this seems to be an isolated incident, it raises issues that should concern both gamers and their families.

Even if you're the world's most permissive parent, the sound of "ow" coming from the game room or bedroom is a call to action.

Excessive video gaming has been suggested as the cause of many psychological ills. There have been reports of tendonitis from playing too much Wii. There have also been reports that video gaming can improve certain activities dependent on keen hand-eye coordination, such as surgery, but the negative reports far outweigh the positive ones.

Video game consoles, in one form or another, have been around for nearly 30 years. Despite this, the case of the Geneva girl with the painful hand lesions is the first known of its kind. Excessive sweating is thought to have played a part in the development of the sores. Similar lesions have been found on the feet of children involved in activities such as jogging. The girl's injuries fully healed after 10 PlayStation-free days. Scientists at the University Hospitals and Medical School of Geneva have dubbed her condition Playstation palmar hidradentitis.

There's no reason for it to happen--even from a dedicated gamer's viewpoint.

Gamers, take note: Whether you're trying to beat your high score or get past a particularly nasty area in a dungeon crawl, it's not going to happen once your hands start hurting.

For parents or others trying to keep a handle on things, the easiest method is to set limits on a family member's gaming. Even if you're the world's most permissive parent, the sound of "ow" coming from the game room or bedroom is a call to action.

PlayStation palmar hidradentitis. Don't let it happen to you or a loved one.

Details of the incident were published in an early, online edition of the British Journal of Dermatology in February, 2009.
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