I think the Dualsense might be ergonomically incompatible with my hands.

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bigsocrates

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Edited By bigsocrates

The Dualsense controller is arguably the most exciting aspect of the new 9th generation console, with its only real competition being the SSDs they both have. I really like the controller, with the exception of having a microphone in it which makes me uncomfortable. I think it looks great, the improved rumble and trigger tension both have potential to them (only realized so far in Astrobot) and it feels solid and comfortable when I hold it.

But I think it's doing something to my right hand.

I first noticed this when I was playing Maneater, a game where fighting pretty much involves jamming on buttons until the enemy died. I played a lot of it over the course of a weekend and was jamming on buttons a ton and I started developing pain in my right hand that felt like a muscle strain. This actually got kind of serious over the course of the next few days and it lingered when I wasn't playing games and made it a little painful to type and do other things. I have a long history of playing video games, including jamming on buttons, and it's never caused this kind of pain before, but I'm getting on in years and as anyone who gets a little older knows things in your body work perfectly until they don't. I wasn't sure what exactly caused it (the pain came on sort of gradually, and I lift weights, which can cause strain or muscle fatigue in a hand) and I decided to just monitor it and hope it would go away.

Over the next week or so it wasn't going away, instead it was lingering and maybe getting a bit worse and I started thinking about going to my doctor to get tested for carpal tunnel or whatever.

Then I stopped playing PS5 for a while. I wasn't even thinking about the controller or my hand, I was just focused on other games, and when my hand started feeling better I didn't connect it to the PS5 at all. I just figured whatever had happened was finally healing.

A couple days ago I went back to playing my PS5, and this morning I turned on Spider-Man Remastered to mess around in Manhattan, got into a couple brawls with some Magia goons, jammed on the buttons again (as you do in Spider-Man) and started feeling it in hand again.

I have no idea why the Dualsense would cause this and I'm honestly not even sure it is the Dualsense that's to blame. The controller feels very comfortable in my hand and it's not that different from a PS4 controller, which I've been using since the launch of that machine. It might be something to do with trigger tension or the shape of the thing or whatever. I haven't seen anyone else complaining about it so maybe it's just my hands and this device. Maybe it's just a coincidence (though I've played a bunch of other games on other controllers in the last couple weeks.) There's another possible explanation because I rarely drive a car and I had to drive for about 5 hours yesterday, so it could just relate to having held the wheel so long, but I'm officially worried. If I go to a doctor and say "this particular controller makes my hand hurt if I use it and the pain lingers" they'll say "then don't use that controller" and maybe I shouldn't, but I'll be super disappointed if I can't enjoy the Dualsense features because of some kind of weird ergonomic incompatibility. I've been excited about its potential and now I might miss out. I'm sure I can find some other controller to play PS5 games with (Dualshock 4 or some random third aprty thing) but it won't have the special rumble or trigger tension.

I don't know if anyone else has had the experience of a particular controller being painful to use, but why did it have to be the most exciting and innovative controller since the Wiimote?

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Justin258

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Perhaps you’re merely exacerbating a workout injury?

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bigsocrates

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@justin258: That's a possibility, though I don't recall feeling any particular pain while working out (though those injuries can pop up later) but I'm not sure why the Dualsense in particular would be exacerbating it. There are a lot of possibilities, but I think it might just be something about the way the controller fits in my hand. It's just strange because holding it feels perfectly comfortable.

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OSail

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#3  Edited By OSail

I'm not old, but I get something similar when playing a lot of musical instruments in a new/different and awkward style (changing drum stick style, very thick bass picks, any classical instrument that may require a certain amount of tension to hold a bow etc). The answer is to experiment with different hand positions if it's an options and, of course if all else fails, stop playing that specific thing if there are no alternate ways to use the device.

If the tension from the triggers against the stillness of your pinky/ring finger holding the bottom of the pad is causing strain in the core part of your hand, if at all possible, turn off the trigger tension gimmick as it could be simple exhaustion and mild strain (hopefully!). See if your recurring strain goes away. If it does, it's not a big deal to keep playing your PS5 games without the new trigger gimmick as mildly disappointing as it may be right now.

If you're semi-certain it is the PS5 controller, after trying games without the trigger gimmick on, make sure it's not another design change that is causing/exacerbating your injury. It could be something as small as the way your pinky or ring finger grips the pad because they shaved a mm off somewhere, altered the angle/how the buttons sit, how your knuckles are sitting etc. Some people have major cramp and strain issues when playing Nintendo DS/3DS devices, and using triggers too often on those devices doesn't help, coincidentally enough.

I hope you find an answer and it's easily resolvable. As you're familiar with weights I know you'll be stretching your fingers, hands, and forearms properly when prepping to play right now, so look out for yourself. No game is worth an RSI.

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GTxForza

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Because you're not used to Xbox controller before getting your hands on Dualsense?

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swthompson

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The new Xbox Series controller definitely makes my right hand feel pretty bad. I will just switch to an older Xbox One controller every time that happens. But that sucks for the Dualsense since you can't really just easily swap it out.

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Sorry to hear about your issues. I actually also experienced a bit of hand strain when I started playing Maneater on PS5, but I assumed it was the controls - I don't often play games where the gameplay is mostly mashing R2. (And somehow, Maneater has 3 control layouts but all of them have attack on R2.....) Anyway I think I eventually found a way to hold it that felt better, because I finished the game in 2-3 days and didn't have any lingering pain. Other than that, I love the way DualSense feels.

I've seen some other people on the internet saying the DualSense is very uncomfortable for them.. I don't know if their hands are too big or they are holding it a weird way or what. I wish Sony had allowed people to use the DS4 for PS5 games. Yes people using DS4 will miss out on the haptics, but at least their hands won't hurt. (Possible workaround, if you have good internet, is to play your PS5 via Remote Play on PC)

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j_unit2008

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I thought I was alone on this! I have relatively small hands and I find myself consciously thinking about the shoulder buttons and how I'm holding it in attempt to stay comfortable (something I almost never think about when gaming). I find the DualShock 4 and Xbox Series controllers more comfortable for extended use.

I wonder if it might also have to do with how dang heavy the DualSense is in comparison. According to this it's almost 2.5 oz heavier than the DualShock 4.

For me the solution has boiled down to taking more frequent breaks in my gaming sessions which I guess isn't the worst thing in the world.

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#8 kidman  Online

Same here. Dual-Sense is not a very comfortable pad imo. I have a rather small hands, which is why Series X controller feels great. I also have Xbox Elite pad and it's fine. DS4 was alright, nothing mindblowing, but I wasn't thinking about it while playing - with DSense I have to move my hands a bit to adjust them and I feel my forearms getting tired after some time.

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inevpatoria

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#9  Edited By inevpatoria

This isn't the same thing, exactly, but my hands start to fall asleep whenever I use the Switch in portable mode. I think the cause results from of the heft of the system, the lack of general ergonomics in the system's design, and a postural issue I have when playing (typically, I'm either lying down or reclined in a chair with the Switch, so my elbows are held bent at a tight angle for long stretches).

I'm sorry to hear about this, truly. It's frustrating to suffer some impairment that interferes with how you enjoy a passion or pastime.

There are a lot of threads circulating around Reddit about cramps and general strain caused by the PS5 controller. I don't know the specifics of your ailment—whether it's an issue with wrist flexion or extension, for instance, or whether you're feeling the most discomfort in the meat of the hand—but a lot of complaints are associated with the controller's strong haptics.

Maybe it is a situation where you are forced to take more regular breaks with the PS5 controller. That honestly wouldn't be a terrible thing. Guitarists often incorporate hand stretches to minimize the risk of injury, and you might think about the same to relieve the stress being put on your joints. Additionally, a light magnesium supplement could benefit the health of all your joints, including the small-but-important movement points in your hands.

In any case, good luck. Hopefully, with rest and some self-care, the problem will work itself out.

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bigsocrates

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I appreciate all the advice. I think it's interesting that a lot of the people who've had issues say that the problem is that their hands are too small. I actually have kind of big hands and always hated the Dualshock because it felt tiny in them.

No Caption Provided

I don't think the issue is that the Dualsense is too large or heavy (I am one of the few, the proud, the ex-Windows Phone users who had a Lumia and really liked it), though that certainly may be the case for others.

After thinking about it more and playing around with my grip a bit, I think the issue may relate to my default grip being in a position where the triggers and shoulder buttons are too close to the knuckle on my index finger. I think this reduces leverage and combined with the haptics and games that require you to jam on those buttons may be causing the strain. Other controllers put the shoulder buttons and triggers a big closer to my fingertips, so I am going to try shifting my grip so that the triggers and shoulders are closer to the tips. But first I'm going to take a break from the PS5 for a bit to make sure that I'm fully healed up. I'll also try some of the stretches and exercises recommended here.

Thanks duders. I'll let everyone know if my hands cramp up and fall off the next time I try to swing around Manhattan.

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I developed a repetitive stress injury with the PS4 controller. The joint at the very base of my thumb, where it meets my wrist, hurt like hell when I moved my thumbs. It was clearly a strain of some kind, but I didn't know why. I had purchased a PS4 a few months prior, and was using a PlayStation controller regularly for the first time in maybe 10 years. I had been playing lots of single-player adventure games, but I had no problem prior to the launch of Apex Legends. It started when Apex Legends launched, and persisted through Warzone's launch. When I switched to PC to play Warzone, and stopped playing Apex Legends altogether, it went away.

I ended up figuring out the problem for me: clicking in the PS4's joysticks was causing the problem. When run and melee are mapped to L3/R3, I am constantly clicking them, far more than in any other type of game by many magnitudes. The position of the sticks on this controller design is counterintuitive to my physiology for some reason. They're too low on the controller face, and they cause my thumbs to bend towards my body at a greater angle, making a half-circle "C" shape with my forefinger and thumbs. Applying repeated downward pressure with this position is unnatural for me.

I found out, though, that I'm not alone. I found a reddit thread in which someone described the exact same problem, and others responded with similar complaints. I was a day or two away from buying a SCUF controller so I could stop clicking in the sticks before I just switched to PC thanks to crossplay.

I found this video, and did these movements, and within a week, I was no longer in pain. Now I just know that I can't play FPS games for long periods of time on PS4.

And no, I have never had, and still do not have, this problem with an Xbox controller thumbstick layout.

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@bigsocrates: Yeah that's a good plan.

As a fellow veteran gamer who has to monitor what he does, If the picture is accurate about how you hold it...Your grip looks way too high

I think if you slide your grip lower on the handles , your finger tips will be in a slightly better position for the triggers and you won't lose access to the face buttons. Your thumb in particular looks too horizontal to me, I tend to keep mine at about a 45 degree angle, mimicking the angle from the Square to the X button. Tip of my thumb on or just past the Square, flexing the knuckle to hit "X". I think you'll want the tip of the handle to resting in your palm if you can

Don't have a PS5, but what I describe is roughly how I hold a XSX controller (which I use on PC), little easier to do there as their handles are longer. I think there's enough real estate on the DS to do it there too tho

The thing does look too small in your hands tho, maybe worth considering getting a 3rd party pad if time off plus grip change don't work. Not ideal, but it's better than getting a RSI.

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bigsocrates

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@slag: That's not my full natural grip because I was holding it with one hand, but yes I need to slide the grip lower on the handles. The issue is that I run out of horn if I do it that way, but the real problem is that the controller's "shoulders" are tilted in too much for me. I do better with a boxier controller that forces my wrists into a more natural position. I do intend to change my grip and see if that helps.

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@bigsocrates: ah ok, that makes sense. Thought it might be the case, but figured I'd throw that out there in case that was actually how you hold it.

In any event, I hope your pain goes away. That's the worst man

These days I often try to rotate between RPGs and more mashy games to give my thumbs a break. If I really wanna mash like I used (In a quicktime event etc) I pretty take my whole hand off the controller and click on it more like a mouse

So I get what you're running into

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tds418

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I've never liked DualSense controllers. It's a matter of personal preference, but I vastly prefer the alternating thumbsticks of the Xbox controller, rather than both sticks being next to each other. Maybe this preference is a result of the GameCube being the first console I owned. Either way, DualSense controllers are not an insignificant factor in me choosing to use xbox as my primary console.

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I beat Maneater on the ps5 and also ran into the same thing, the combat has you making a lot of awkward hand movements repetitively and I started getting hand strain from it too.

I also recently turned off vibrate on destiny 2, I use this gatling gun thing and the vibrate is intense and after a while the controller starts slipping out of my hand. I find it a bit harder to keep a grip on it than the ps4 controller, but I still like it overall.

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Heavy button mashing games tend to wreck the tendon sheaths through friction. The lubricant that lets tendons glide free gets all sticky if you overdo your mashing, this gets worse with age. It is why breaks are very important.

I destroyed my left hand playing Terraria on a mouse and keyboard, using space bar to jump.. You jump a lot in that game, and I literally wrecked my left hand. RSI is no joke, it ends you. Button mashy games aren't for people above the age of 30. The risk of lasting injury grows with each year.

Once your hands go, so too does your life. Be careful..