Do you experience wrist pain while gaming?

The hands and wrists are the most essential part of a gamer’s body, controlling hundreds of actions per minute. Unfortunately, many gamers live with the burden of wrist pain that disrupts the pleasure of gaming and can harm performance and make you lose focus.

Wrist pain can occur while doing certain movements with your mouse and keyboard. In the worst-case scenario, the damage becomes irreparable and you need to quit gaming.

This article highlights what can cause wrist pain and what you can do to prevent or recover from it.

What causes wrist pain for a gamer?

The main reason why gamers experience wrist pain is due to overuse caused by the many actions and repetitive hand and wrist movements. Starcraft players are observed taking up to 600 actions per minute. That is 10 actions per second. For first-person shooter games such as CSGO, the actions per minute will be considerably lower. Wrist pain caused by an extensive amount of repetitive movements is also called a repetitive stress injury or overuse injury.

At the beginning of an overuse injury, the symptoms are often below the threshold of a player’s consciousness. It is first when inflammation starts to rise that you start feeling the symptoms. You can say that the injury is kind of sneaking up on you.

An overuse injury can develop into different medical conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome which is a common condition among gamers.

What to do to prevent wrist pain?

We can all agree that it’s better to work on prevention before something becomes a painful issue. Prevention is when you actively work to avoid an injury. Here are some guidelines that work as prevention and recovery from wrist pain:

Take regular breaks
Taking breaks is a great way to prevent wrist pain. Common for all breaks is that they give rest to your wrists and help recover from stress and tension.

If you start feeling pain symptoms it’s very important that you start listening to your body’s needs. A break is often what’s needed here to stop further damage.

Different ways to take a break:

  • Split your gaming sessions into two or more parts. 
  • Take a whole day or more off
  • Take a 5 min break after each game or per 45-60 min
  • Take your hands away from the mouse and keyboard when the game allows.

Work out in the gym
Working out in the gym help strengthen your wrists by increasing the durability of the tendons. This makes your wrist less vulnerable to injury and fatigue as they build more resistance to stress. Working out secure can long-term prevention if done in moderation.

Do hand and wrist exercises before you start playing
Hand and wrist exercises help keep your wrist flexibility and mobility on top which can lower the risk of injury. They work great as prevention because blood flows through the wrist which helps warm up and loosens tension.

Utilize proper ergonomics
Using an ergonomic keyboard and mouse is a great way to reduce strain on the wrists. They also work to prevent inappropriate wrist movements and tension. If you have a wrist pain issue on the keyboard side you can consider switching keybinds to a more comfortable position.

Use a wrist brace to support wrist movements
Using a wrist brace creates support and protection for your wrist joint when performing various movements. A wrist brace also tends to keep your wrist warm which supports the normal function. Normally you would first begin using a wrist brace when pain symptoms are arising.

What to do to recover from wrist pain?

If you have severe pain symptoms that hold you back from playing or make you uncomfortable you should consider seeing a physical therapist or a doctor that can help to set up the right intervention for you. Ice may provide temporary pain relief and can reduce the swelling that often creates more pain.

If your wrist pain has come from extended gaming sessions the clear solution would be to decrease the time playing, not causing any further damage. The time you take away from playing can be used to take care of your painful wrist and focus on bringing the symptoms down.

Learning to feel when your wrist needs some rest and act on it is the most important part. If you are pushing yourself through the pain I recommend that you use as many of the above tips as possible.

Using the same tips mentioned above also works for recovering from wrist pain, just be more gentle and careful as your wrist is more vulnerable to further damage.

One of the main goals here is to recover the full function of your wrist. This includes moving your wrist in every direction without pain. It’s okay to experience some sort of pain while gaming but it should not work as a distraction that harms performance and should disappear shortly after you stop playing.


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