I’m 19 and got carpal tunnel from excessive PC gaming. Because of my age, I have to be careful because I’m stuck with my wrists for at least another 60 years, and I NEED my wrists for programming and school/work.

I’m ready to try any setup that minimizes hand usage, no matter how stupid it looks. Pedals, joysticks I can operate with my thighs, motion controls, eye-tracking technology for mouse movements, I’ll take anything at this point. All I need is to see someone else’s wacky setup so I can recreate something similar.

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31 thoughts on “I have carpal tunnel and had to quit gaming because of it. How can I continue?”

  1. Hard truth is you just need to limit your time playing, or take lots of breaks. Regular stretching exercises generally helps as well!

  2. On top of the regular stretching, another thing nobody wants to hear, perhaps switching to console or getting a girthy steam controller would be a reasonable option.

  3. what about a VR game, and maybe somthing like valves new Index controlers so you dont have to be gripping somtihng hard at all times like holding a controller or mouse?

  4. Surgery. I know many people that have had this corrected. My brother is a physical therapist and there are many options for stretches and exercises as well. Also good posture. A good chair and level arm rests saved my wrists. I have it also, but not as bad. Also I had to rebind all my keys on all my games to change the angle I use my hands. I used to use MMO mouse with 1-8 on the thumb side. Like a Razor naga, or a logitech g500. I rebound everything to scroll wheel with different shift or alt keys, and minimal use of the fingers on the mouse. Good posture, a non aggressive keybind system, and self control with time played will go a long way

  5. Have you tried wearing a wrist splint to keep it straight? That helped a lot when I had carpal tunnel.

  6. It’s a tricky situation for someone as young as you are, you have few “real” solutions (the ones that won’t make you say “wowthanksi’mcured” ) Surgery is the best one (but i assume you live in the 3rd world country known as USA so it will be expensive AF) if gaming is an important part of your life you can opt for games that are more lenient to the wrists, turn bases RPGs for example, some time ago someone with the same problem said that there were exercises aimed to strenghten the lower arm muscles that helped him a lot (get swole :p), the aforementioned steam controller is an option for the games you seem to enjoy…
    All in all… it will be a pain, best wishes man, get better!

  7. Have you tried a track ball vertical mouse? I don’t have carpal tunnel but I’ve heard they’re good for people with it. I have used them before and they take some getting use to but it’s not the worst experience.

  8. I can’t imagine how you pulled this off at 19. It took me until I was in my 30s. See an occupational therapist and learn how to avoid the repetative stress and set up your work/gaming area properly. While I was healing switching to a compact split keyboard and left handed mouse helped me recover (over 6 months) and SLOWLY got back into gaming. I spend half as much time on console or Xbox elite (on PC) and reserve mouse for things I really want to play that way, since I also work in IT and sit at desk all day. If you loved playing basketball and shattered your knee you wouldn’t keep trying to play until you were healed. Best to find some other hobbies for a bit while healing and doing therapy for the wrist.

  9. Have you looked into getting a keyboard and mouse cushion for your wrists? No joke, my parents thought for sure I would get carpal tunnel syndrome from gaming so they bought me keyboard and mouse cushions for my wrists. That was years ago and I’ve been using them ever since!

  10. I have arthritis, particularly in my wrist , and I used to wear a hand/wrist support that had a metal bar going along the bottom of it to support my wrist, I found I was able to use this metal bar to rest on my desk and it helped me be able to use my mouse and keyboard with relatively little movement and without being in an uncomfortable position

    Maybe try looking into something like that

  11. There is an app called keysticks that lets you map your keyboard to a controller. I’ve been able to play games that are m+kb only with it.

  12. i can feel you. in 28 And i started on gaming at 6 and after countless consoles i switched to PC in 2011, over the years i have feel my right wrist starting to acting up. so i decided to move to a trackball 2 years ago and the discomfort has been reduced since. sure takes a while to get use to it but its a tradeoff for the health of my wrist i will take any day.

  13. Do you have carpal tunnel (diagnosed) or do you think you have? This is important to know because it changes the answer i would give. Carpal tunnel and something more common like tendonitis tend to share the same symptoms. Anyways, if you do have carpal tunnel syndrome, you should start to constantly take breaks and make sure you do wrist exercises during these breaks multiple time a day. However if ur carpal tunnel severly hinders ur daily activities you should look into surgery as that is the only really effective way to almost permanently remove the symptoms.

    You can try using splints to sleep with too as it will help against irritating the area even further. Either way if u have carpal tunnel, there is a great chance you’ll develop muscle wasting anyways on the base of ur thumbs so you’ll have to end up with surgery anyways.

  14. Microsoft old explorer trackballs were awesome, saved me during wow. Sadly they’re expensive and harder to find now, nothing really comparable on the market.

  15. I had my first symptoms around 19 as well.

    Get a trackball for work, or for any time you’re doing work. Work on making sure your wrists are straight, avoid awful angles. Take breaks by stretching your wrists, push them against the wall, stretch your fingers. Opt to use controllers as much as you can, especially larger controllers; I’ve found the Steam Controller to be incredible. Consider getting a wrist brace and wearing it, and consider going light on your computer and gaming for a few months.

    I still technically suffer from CT symptoms, but with careful moderation, stretches, and being cognizant of my wrist positioning, I’m able to game and work on computers and do all the shit I want to do. I just need to be careful.

  16. I have it. This is what helped for me:

    – Rest your hands. I stopped gaming completely until the constant pain went away. In my case it was three months.

    – do wrist exercises, but stop if it hurts and try again later

    – I use a wrist brace in both hands at night because if I don’t do it, I wake up with my hands numb

    – for work, I changed my mouse for a trackball. It helped a lot.

    – I’m a translator and I use voice recognition a lot on my work to avoid typing

    – I stopped gaming with a mouse and use a gamepad (dualshock 4 in my case) exclusively, but only when my hands stopped hurting 24/7. There’re very few games I had to stop playing (mainly strategy games and competitive FPS, but single player FPS are fine).

  17. >I’m 19 and got carpal tunnel from excessive PC gaming.

    You had extremely bad form most likely when you were gaming. School/Work and programming won’t be doing them any favors at all. You don’t need to minimize hand usage so much as you need to start physical therapy NOW and also rearrange how you use a keyboard and mouse entirely. If you want to continue to use your hands at all in fine dexterity requiring situations(read: life), you need to do that, not ‘abstain from gaming’.

    These are lifestyle choices you need to make RIGHT NOW, get in the habit and be prepared for a surgery to releive long term symptoms.

  18. I had issues with discomfort hat was slowly becoming worse in my wrists. I switched to using an Xbox controller as often as possible and that helped alot. I know things like vertical mice are becoming more popular because your hand rests in a way that greatly reduces strain on your elbow and wrists

  19. Here’s what I did to counter RSI. If you actually do have diagnosed carpal tunnel, that probably takes more drastic measures.

    1. Take a break from gaming and get used to a routine of wrist exercises and stretches. Check out Powerball.
    2. Lower your mouse sensitivity so that your arm takes care of larger motions and wrist does fine adjustment. Using high sensitivity puts all the work on your wrist. Get a light and comfortably shaped mouse, so that you can grip it easily without strain. This should lessen the strain on your wrist and enable you to play in a more relaxed manner. Also pay attention to keyboard.
    3. Adjust your desk so that your wrist rarely bends upwards (extension). People often have too low desks. Most of the time your wrists should be straight or slightly bent downwards (flexion). Wrist rests, in my opinion, are only a band-aid (for mouse). Low sensitivity, large mouse pad, and proper desk height are a better solution. Might also want to get a good office chair to mitigate back problems in the future.
    4. Add variation to counter repetitive motions. Use another mouse when working (vertical/trackball!), do your wrist exercises, and perhaps find some other hobby for your hands. You know, in addition to spanking the monkey. Here’s where different types of games and controllers come in handy, too.

    That’s all that comes to mind for now.

  20. I’m 30 and have had it for about 10 years, honestly nothing here really helps imo…BUT I do find less pain when I use a controller(I switch between XB1 and Steam controller).

    Besides that find a mouse that fits you best when you need to use one. I always loved twitch shooters(Unreal/Quake/etc..) so I barely play them anymore sadly and go for slower based stuff that I can actually keep up with controller wise.

    It sucks but its life man, hope you find something that works for you.

  21. If its true carpal you have and got it diagnosed, and not something else. i don’t really think there is much more you can do then surgery. my brother had carpal tunnel. At the end he couldn’t even turn a screwdriver (he was an electrician). After surgery and soem time after it healed. He was close to 100% problem free. Can do everything healthy people can do. But ofcourse, there are risks with any surgical procedure, and you might get other problems. but what those are, i do not know

  22. Watch this guys videos:

    URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EiRC80FJbHU

    Just do exercises every hour for your hands + wrists. I had the same issue when gaming for long hours and overtime it basically just went away when I started doing the exercises. Get a large soft mouse pad to lay your wrists on. Imho wrist rests don’t work for me and cause discomfort for me especially when gaming. Get an ergonomic chair for your posture. You need to research proper posture techniques because I had the same problems when I was 18 and this was only very recent.

    Edit: Also you might want to get a new mouse too, I’ve learned from experience that using high-profile mice would always cause me issues with carpal tunnel and using a medium/small size one that matched my hand size changed my comfort so much when gaming with my mouse. It makes a huge difference finding the perfect size for you for your hand size trust me. You should look up rocketjumpninja on youtube and find a mouse that is best fit for you as well. Right now I’m using the G403 / new Model O from Glorious.

  23. You just play too much. I have a ganglion cyst on my left wrist that I had surgically removed only for it to come back a couple of years later due to playing too much starcraft (too many rotations in the wrist in order to create groups of units with ctrl + number) and other games. Too much is too much.

    The only way you *might* keep playing is by buying a console really. Although that might create other issues down the road like a sore thumb as well…

  24. Get a larger mouse pad and use a lower DPI. That encourages full arm movements instead of tiny repetitive wrist movements.

    Also make sure to take breaks every 30 minutes or so.

    And yeah, you could try getting a joystick of some kind with decent button placements to map to WASD and various satellite keys.

    Steam Controller with gyro assist for targeting is also pretty good. Bit of a learning curve to get the quirks of Steam’s controller mapping settings, but once you have that figured out, use the mouse pad for large movements, and then activate the gyro for precision targeting. Also map repetitive actions to the back paddle buttons. And only use soft pulls for the triggers, not hard pulls.

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