Hardcore gamers spend a huge amount of their day (and night) playing their favorite games. Therefore it’s understandable that doing any repetitive task may cause injury in the long-term. If a gamer starts to feel pain, their first thought may be that they should get a gamer wrist brace – but are they needed?
It’s important to understand what a brace is designed for before dropping some of your hard earned cash on one. Read on to find out more.
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Managing discomfort and pain
The most common cause for wrist discomfort and pain, like I spoke about above, is repetitive tasks under strain. Overuse injuries represent the majority of wrist pain issues, and are causes by either tendon pain or muscular pain.
You might be surprised to find out that managing your wrist issues is not actually about preventing movement. A brace isn’t supposed to limit 100% of movement. Braces reduce excessive movements and can help with healing, so that your problem doesn’t get worse.
When to use a brace for gaming
Generic wrist braces are fantastic for limiting undue stress on your tendons throughout the day, when you aren’t playing games. It’s important to understand that you still need a bit of movement, as this will promote proper healing and mobility. Tendons take a long time to toughen up from an injury, compared to muscles.
There are a few different scenarios on when you should use a brace. Which one suits you will depend on your own body’s physical health, and how much pain you’re in.
1 – Early signs of pain
If you’ve never had a wrist injury before and you think you’ve got one, the best time to use a brace is straight away. Your body will be inflamed, it will be weak, it will be sensitive, and the best thing you can do is limit as much movement as possible for the first few days.
2 – All day, unless gaming
You could opt to wear your brace all day, but take it off for gaming. This helps to keep your tendon safe from generic daily tasks, but still allow you more freedom in your downtime. With this option you should stop playing the second you start to feel any discomfort.
3 – Sleeping only
I don’t know about you, but when I’m asleep I move around all over the place. It’s quite easy to place your body in awkward positions, which may damage your tendons throughout the night. A good option to combat this is to wear your brace only at night. I’d consider this option if throughout the day your wrists feel ok, but they only flair up after a decent gaming session.
4 – During gameplay
If you wish to wear a wrist brace during your gaming sessions, please only do so after you’ve conducting one of the above scenarios for a couple of days. This will allow your body to recover enough that playing with a brace won’t put you back to square one.
As you can imagine, playing with a brace on will affect your gaming performance if you’re playing online games, but honestly you’re health and well-being is far more important. Obviously if you’re a top-tier gamer who is about to play in the MLG finals or something then you’re probably going to disregard this anyway.
5 – Flare ups
Flare ups are common in all aspects of rehabilitation, where we do too much too soon. If you’ve recently recovered from wrist pain, don’t start going back to your original 7+ hour gaming sessions with minimal breaks, as that’s what got you in this mess to start with. Ease back into it, keep an eye on your pain, and you’ll be back to owning noobs online in no time.
If you do find yourself in the unfortunate situation where you have a flare up, keep your wrist brace on most of the time when you aren’t gaming.
How to wear a wrist brace
There are multiple different types of wrist braces available to buy. Some focus on specific injuries, whereas others are more generic. Different braces will also come in different compression and restriction levels.
Putting the brace on is fairly simple. When you have it on, you may be alarmed at feeling from the pressure it creates. This pressure is completely normal, so don’t worry. If you are wearing one early into your injury, the increased inflammation will also make it feel like it’s more tight than it actually is. What you don’t want to feel is pain when you put it on. If you feel significant pain, your injury may be more suited to a medical professional.
Best gamer wrist brace
There are a lot of wrist brace companies out there. A few may state that they are specific for gamers, but honestly, gaming doesn’t produce it’s own injury – all you’ll likely have is generic tendon pain or inflammation. Therefore, purchasing a normal wrist brace should be fine for 99% of people who are suffering with discomfort.
Here are some of the best that we have found.
The Aircast A2 is one of the most robust braces. I’d suggest using this if you are experiencing significant discomfort, and you plan on not gaming for at least a week.
It can help with a lot of issues such as sprains, strains, and carpal tunnel pain. There are a lot of options for adjusting how much the brace restricts movement, which is ideal for if you get a flare up or you start to recover.
What’s great about this one is that it uses moisture wicking materials. There’s nothing worse than getting sweaty under a brace or a cast.
I absolutely love the compression wrist support from Atlas Sport. This product looks like a regular wrist band from afar, so it’s perfect for wearing secretly without raising too many questions. Obviously it won’t immobilize the wrist like the one above does, so this is best suited for mild discomfort, of for those who have recently recovered from wrist pain.
This wrist support can aid with carpal tunnel pain, tendonitis, and of course repetitive strain injuries. It has copper ions built into it too which aids in faster recovery by reducing inflammation and promoting circulation.
Hopefully you now have a better understanding of wrist braces, as well as the knowledge to pick up one if you do need it. I’m a gamer myself (Dota 2, LoL & CS:GO), so I completely understand the frustration of getting wrist pain.
If you do end up with reoccurring discomfort in your wrist, please don’t hesitate to consult a doctor.
Good luck, and have fun.