#1 Posted by Bucketdeth (8012 posts) -

I haven't been gaming on my PC in a good while but recently I started to again, and my right wrist is beginning to hurt. I want to try and prevent Carpal Tunnel and Tendonitis, do any of you have any tips for having a comfortable experience?
 
And no this isn't from masturbating, that would be my other wrist.

#2 Posted by ShaggE (6472 posts) -

Outside of moderation, I find that padded mousepads are a good help. Also, make sure your wrist isn't hanging over the edge of your desk. I learned that the hard way. 

#3 Posted by Bucketdeth (8012 posts) -
@ShaggE said:
Outside of moderation, I find that padded mousepads are a good help. Also, make sure your wrist isn't hanging over the edge of your desk. I learned that the hard way. 
Ahh, I think this maybe one of the problems. I'm going to head out to best buy in a bit and get a better mouse pad, thanks!
#4 Posted by AhmadMetallic (18955 posts) -
@Bucketdeth said:
@ShaggE said:
Outside of moderation, I find that padded mousepads are a good help. Also, make sure your wrist isn't hanging over the edge of your desk. I learned that the hard way. 
Ahh, I think this maybe one of the problems. I'm going to head out to best buy in a bit and get a better mouse pad, thanks!
my wrist has been hanging over the edge of my desk for years, no pain or disfunctionality whatsoever.. just a really small patch of dead skin at the bottom of the wrist
#5 Posted by Jadeskye (4367 posts) -

I just got diagnosed with carpal tunnel, take it from me that the less angle you submit your wrist to, the better, try to flatten everything from your palm up to your elbow.

#6 Posted by SomeJerk (3262 posts) -

I've seen people doing lengthy gaming sessions daily with desk setups that give them t-rex arms I can relax every muscles and still hold onto WASD and mouse with my setup. Requires a desk with good depth, is worth it.

#7 Edited by Franstone (1124 posts) -

Ahh the benefits of your chair arm-wrests being the same level as your desktop. 
 
If your other hand starts hurting invest in one of these!
 
#8 Posted by Damian (1538 posts) -

So does that mean you're a lefty, or you're just a fan of strangers?

#9 Posted by Bucketdeth (8012 posts) -
@Damian said:
So does that mean you're a lefty, or you're just a fan of strangers?
I'm a righty, but I am a fan of strangers also.
#10 Posted by Green_Incarnate (1789 posts) -

This worked ok for me.

#11 Posted by NTM (7411 posts) -

Yeah, it's because it depends on where your arm is placed for your hand to touch the mouse. It'd be best to find a place to make it so you can use the mouse at about waist height. I personally don't do this, and it does hurt my wrist from time to time, so I often have to move my wrist around to stretch it. Buy something, like one of those things you use to eat dinner at a couch, which I don't have, because it's not something I do. You'll probably feel more lazy as you sit back and do so, but it's the best way to make it so you're not hurting your wrist. It's also just as comfortable to do that as using a controller. I don't know if what I said makes any sense, but just know that you need to make it so the mouse and keyboard are by your waist. Somewhere around the place you hold a controller as you play on the consoles.

#12 Posted by imsh_pl (3296 posts) -

I use a trackball mouse for my PC gaming, along with a padded mousepad. I do that for every PC game I don't use gamepads for, even Starcraft or Team Fortress.

#13 Posted by ShaggE (6472 posts) -
@Bucketdeth said:
@ShaggE said:
Outside of moderation, I find that padded mousepads are a good help. Also, make sure your wrist isn't hanging over the edge of your desk. I learned that the hard way. 
Ahh, I think this maybe one of the problems. I'm going to head out to best buy in a bit and get a better mouse pad, thanks!
No problem. I had half of each hand go dead numb for over a year because of my desk posture, so now I'm excessively careful about how my wrists are positioned. :p
#14 Posted by The_Hiro_Abides (1263 posts) -

Personally I got a chair where the arms are the right height for me to put a mouse on it. Now my wrist rarely hurts when using a mouse for hours at a time.

#15 Posted by Kyle (2323 posts) -

Yep, whenever I start getting back into heavily gaming on the PC, the wrist pain creeps back up. As said above, padded mouse pads are good, and definitely make sure you rest your elbow on something (chair arm) that is at the same height as the desk so that you're not putting too much pressure on your wrist.

#16 Posted by Aleryn (704 posts) -
#17 Posted by ryanwho (12082 posts) -

I take glucosamine and condroiton. But also, I don't go on madman 10 hour marathons. Sometimes I use my tablet pen for games, just to change the joints being worked in my hand.

#18 Posted by JP_Russell (1171 posts) -

If you're playing any shooters that require you to hold down the right mouse button instead of toggle to aim, as an example, that can eventually cause pain in the wrist.  When that first happened to me, the pain was great enough that I just had to stop playing those kinds of games for a while and let my wrist recuperate.  These days, I make a conscious effort to hold down the RMB lightly in those games, which seems to help quite a bit.

#19 Posted by Devildoll (886 posts) -

if im reading you correct now , its your left hand , the one on the keyboard that is having the wrist problem?

in that case , you might have a keyboard thats a bit to tall , a wriststand for the keyboard would help with that.

#20 Posted by Mitch0712 (473 posts) -
@Bucketdeth:   If you increase mouse sensitivity you decrease amount of wrist and hand movement. Also keep a good portion of your forearm flat with your hand on desk
#21 Posted by topgunner87 (18 posts) -
@Green_Incarnate said:

This worked ok for me.

 
Follow the stretching exercises in this video for a good start.  Otherwise, search Google for any stretching tips regarding ergonomic comfort in the work place (HR departments are obsessed with this stuff).  Most of those will bring up various forearm and wrist exercises for employees to stay comfortable while in front of their computers.
#22 Posted by The_Dude (798 posts) -

Sit with good posture and don't let the bottom of your palm rest on the surface of your table. Keep it lifted, it feels less comfortable for awhile, but in the long run you won't be running into the problems you mentioned.

#23 Posted by RaikohBlade (593 posts) -

You could always order one of those Japanese boob mice they sell in Akihabara. 

#24 Edited by Jams (2961 posts) -

I've never had a problem with fatigue in my hands while using a computer. It might have to do with my method of handling the mouse. It's a claw style grip with my palm and forearm ( or elbow) resting on the desk (or computer chair). All my movements are in my finger tips. Mixed with a high DPS, it requires minimal movement, but can be difficult to get good an slower more accurate pointing if the DPS's are too high. I like it around 3500. My palm will always be planted pretty firmly behind the mouse with almost no movement.

Here's a diagram that might help you out.

http://www.razerzone.com/mouseguide/html/advantages.php

#25 Posted by lettuceman44 (109 posts) -

Make sure to actually stretch out your wrists, fingers, and such.
 
Just doing a few exercises in between game sessions helps in my opinion. A flexible and loose wrist is less likely to injury, and less likely to hurt.

#26 Posted by Godmil (147 posts) -

I had to take about a year off of PCs to fix my wrists, then 7-8 years later I still have to be very careful. My physiotherapist said posture was really important (not slouching), but the thing that fixed it for me was going left handed with the mouse. It's really hard at first, but pop a FPS on (be sure to set it to easy) and by the end of the game you should be pretty much ambidextrous with the mouse.

#27 Posted by lettuceman44 (109 posts) -

A posture. You are right, posture is important. Something I have to work on myself.
 
After you mentioned that, I can't believe how much I slouch.

#29 Posted by StrikeALight (1114 posts) -

Ahh the benefits of your chair arm-wrests being the same level as your desktop.

If your other hand starts hurting invest in one of these!

I used to have a G13. It was pretty awesome.

#30 Posted by Nivash (241 posts) -

The people who have already posted have made some good points. If I may, here's my recommendations in bullet-point format (we got to use that function for something, right?) Obligatory TL;DR near the end. This applies to all forms of wrist pain, both CTS and non-CTS.

  • Levelling. You should be seated so that your forearms are resting comfortably on the table in front of you. That means:
    1. A high seating. Get yourself high enough that you approach the point where you elbows are almost forming a right angle.
    2. Good posture. Straight back, lumbar support if possible (really, a good gaming char is almost as vital as a good keyboard and mouse) Contorting yourself into weird shapes puts extra strain on the wrist.
    3. A desk that actually allows you space between the edge of the desk and the keyboard. 10-15 cm is a good target. That's 4-6 inches imperial. If your have a desk chair with good arm rests level with your desk you can shorten that distance. I personally find it most comfortable to rest my elbows and upper forearms on the armrests, lower forearms on the table and wrist on my keyboards wrist support. More on that in a moment.

If you find yourself wanting to pivot your monitor upwards towards you after performing these steps, then you're probably doing it right, which means you sat to low before.

Onto:

  • Equipment.

So, keyboards and wrist supports. Here's mine, the Q-Pad Mk-50:

As far as keyboards go, this is a basic design but oh what a pleasure to use! The wrist-pad is minimalistic to say the least but gets the job done wonderfully. A plastic slab with a rubberized finish, neither too hard nor to soft, angled slightly upwards before leveling of as it reaches the keyboard proper. It does one thing: gives your wrists a natural home. combined with the keyboards only other special feature - kickstands on the back, which are pretty buck standard really, but also perfectly angled. Together they make it easy to reach just about everything, while naturally getting you to adopt the perfect position and angle. It's also mechanical which is pleasurable in itself with it's fluid keys.

If you don't feel like buying a new keyboard, there are also third-party wrist supports you can buy for a few bucks. Can't really comment on those, haven't used them since high school. I'm sure they get the job done.

Onward to mice!

Once again, principles are simple: should fit comfortably in the palm of your hand, buttons should be easy to push and neither be finicky nor resisting, thumb groove is great and standard in most gaming mice, neither too heavy nor too light... you get the point. Goldilocks zone. The result is that you don't end up straining your wrist by hovering over a mouse that is too small, or tenses your wrist either forcing it around or its buttons down. Personally I once again go with the more minimalistic ones (I actually use the entry-level Logitech G400 which is both comfortable and cheap, if not very advanced) but whatever floats your boat.

Then, of course, mouse pads. Soft are nice - but not too soft, you don't want to get the mouse snagged and end up forcing it around. I'd say the ease of mouse movement trumps softness to rest your wrist on. Here, bigger is usually better: you don't want to constantly slip off the edge. Go for something excessively large - they aren't that much more expensive and the bigger you can fit the better. I personally think I don't really use more than a third of mine, for instance, so I have more than enough space. It also makes for a better leveling of the wrist and mouse if you can rest it on the pad.

As for grip? Try a few. Theoretically buck-standard mouse-in-palm, fingers-flat-on-buttons should work best but I'm not going to argue with those who have wrist-issues who say the claw works better for them.You'll probably find whichever works best for you after a while.

So what's left in the trifecta? Ah yes,

  • Excersise!

Take a brake when you feel the burn coming on. Move the wrist around, stretch fingers. Simple stuff. Just stop whatever you're doing for while. There are some guides on the web if you want pointers, just google "carpal tunnel syndrome excersises".

There's also another point worth mentioning here: your gaming environment. Cold usually worsens carpal tunnel, so if possible, try to keep a nice, comfy temperature. Drafts can be even worse - if you have your PC near a window or through some other means sit in a place with a lot of moving, potentially cold air, try to do something about it. Tighten up those windows. Put a book case or screen or something to disrupt the flow if the entire house is drafty. As for high temperature, that's usually not as much of a big deal. Warmer is better.

This should also be mentioned: lighting. Believe it or not, poor lighting causes more than just eye strain as many unconsciously tense up, wrists included.

And that pretty much covers it.

TL;DR: WWDD! What would Drew do? DO AS DREW!

You see that elegant poise, that high seating, desk with lots and lots of space for the keyboard, monitors at the perfect height and angle? The man is a poster-child for the ergonomic work environment. I'd dock him some points for that hideous excuse of a desk chair, but I don't think it's his fault. Personally I blame Jeff. Or Brad. But probably Jeff.

Oh, and bonus round!

Carpal tunnel syndrome: a quick biomechanical explanation. The carpal tunnel is a tight passage that allows the the tendons of the finger flexors, those muscles that bend your fingers, to attach to the finger bones. They share the tunnel with the median nerve: this nerve supplies the muscles that extend the fingers as well as sensory information roughly incorporating the palmar side of the thumb, the index finger and the middle finger, half the palmar side of the ring finger and finally the fingertips of said fingers. The canal is very, very tight - if for whatever reasons the canal gets tighter, usually by swelling of the tendons through inflammation (possibly caused by repetitive motion, research to establish this as a cause is still somewhat ongoing)

When this happens the median nerve experiences something called entrapment neuropathy AKA nerve compression syndrome. What happens is that the entrapment blocks of blod flow to sections of the nerve which enter ischemia - a lack of oxygen. The mechanism is the same as what happens when your limb goes asleep after you've been laying on it. This, in turn, results in the nerve reacting by releasing its action potentials - over-acting, to put it simply, which results in abnormal signals which the brain interprets as a form of stinging pain. Typically the pain is a stinging sensation that wanders outwards to the fingertips from the palmar side of aforementioned fingers, corresponding to the area of innervation, as well as radiating outwards to the wrist. It is usually brought on by actions such as driving - or - using a keyboard. Patients can also present with a subtle tendency to drop things, caused by worsened fine motor control through the innervated finger extenders.

Treatment is through physical and occupational therapy, medical treatment in the form steroid injections (which are anti-inflammatory and dampens the swelling), night-time splints to stabilize the wrist and in severe cases surgery, aimed at releasing the transverse ligament and thereby decrease the tightness of the canal.

#31 Posted by Nivash (241 posts) -

Wow, that took a long time to write, a whole freaking year and a half! But seriously, I really should read the post dates closer. 36 hours without sleep does that to you I guess. Then again, CTS isn't going away anytime soon so hopefully someone will get something out of it. Which they probably won't since this thread is necrod. Which means I'm probably writing to myself. In which case I should probably stop. Now.

#32 Posted by Jams (2961 posts) -
@nivash said:

Wow, that took a long time to write, a whole freaking year and a half! But seriously, I really should read the post dates closer. 36 hours without sleep does that to you I guess. Then again, CTS isn't going away anytime soon so hopefully someone will get something out of it. Which they probably won't since this thread is necrod. Which means I'm probably writing to myself. In which case I should probably stop. Now.

All that crap you posted is the exact opposite of how I use a computer. Half of those things actually make any kind of computer use a lot harder and cause me more fatigue. I don't mean to insult but I've been calling bullshit oh most of those recommendations for years.

Here's an old article on why it isn't good to sit straight for longer periods of time while using a computer. Maybe it's been refuted since, but I have a feeling it hasn't.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/57654.php

This article from Cornell recommends that you have the mouse on a platform an inch or two higher than your keyboard.

http://ergo.human.cornell.edu/cumousetips.html

all that's to be taken with a grain of salt anyways. I've never had strain when typing because I keep my wrists on the wrist pad when typing. Or had strain in my mousing wrist because I use my fingertips to move the mouse instead of my elbow or wrist.

Anyways, the straight back part is what I think is the worst you can do while using a computer.

I don't care if you're Jesus Christ the Rocket Scientist; the 23 years I've been using a computer (for hours and hours a day), I know what's best for me and none of your recommendations fit.