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Arthritis and Gaming

In this article, we talk to Michelle about being young and suffering from arthritis. Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain and inflammation in a joint. In Ireland, around 915,000 people are living with arthritis. Arthritis is more common in older people but can also affect younger people as the average age of diagnosis is 35. 1 in every 1,200 children suffers from arthritis which makes it the single biggest cause of disability. Arthritis accounts for the largest category of GP visits as 30% of visits are related to musculoskeletal disorders. There are over 100 different types of arthritis and many share symptoms such as pain, fatigue, and inflammation. There are many medical and non-medical arthritis treatments available that can help people to control their arthritis symptoms.

Arthritis can intrude on people’s lives as it can prevent them from doing daily life tasks such as sports, working, driving, and even playing video games. Joint pain and stiffness can make it harder to perform basic video game functions using generic controllers. 

We talked to 25-year-old Michelle King from County Offaly to ask her about her experience with arthritis and how it has impacted her life. Michelle told us:

“When I was younger, I played all different types of sports such as camogie and football, it was when I was 17 I started to get muscular pain in my hands so I went to see my doctor about it. My symptoms came on gradually. I was later diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. This was a big shock to me at first as many people seem to think that arthritis is only something that affects older people, but it’s actually a very common problem among younger people too. This has affected my life in many ways which I do try and workaround. I would have pain in my hands while doing tasks such as washing dishes, using my phone, or writing. It would be pain, stiffness, and swelling in my hand and wrists. I would take strong painkillers to help with this and help me get through my daily tasks. Other activities which were made difficult for me are tasks such as driving, using remote controls, making food, and typing which are all simple tasks I should be capable of doing alone. I still love to go to the gym and stay active, I feel this really helps with my arthritis. Physical activity is very important in my life and I love the gym, walks, and hikes. I do still get flare-ups which can be tough and tire me out, keeping active helps me get through them.”

Many people question if prolonged use of video games and constant use of joints in the hands can lead to arthritis. There is no conclusive evidence that gaming or texting will actually lead to arthritis in later years.

If you find playing video games for long periods of time is causing you hand or wrist pain, there are a few things you can try to ease and prevent the pain. If your hand feels hot and swollen try and apply ice, this will reduce the swelling. It’s also useful to ease up the tight grip. A tight grip can compress the tendons, nerves, and ligaments in your hands and cause pain. It helps to try and keep your hands relaxed. Stretching and exercising can also be beneficial.

ByoWave’s solution

ByoWave’s controllers can offer a solution to many gamers suffering from arthritis. The construction blocks can be arranged in a way that best suits the user’s needs. ByoWave’s modular controller can make gaming possible for many people who have struggled to find a controller that meets their needs. To find out more sign up for our newsletter.

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