Gaming used to be an activity where players would put in the time to play a couple of levels, maximizing playing time to about an hour. Now players are playing for multiple hours at a time, which often causes thumb blisters.
In order to prevent thumb blisters when gaming, players should take a small break, stretch after each match, and if necessary, wear a thumb cover. Blisters occur from overuse and consistent friction.
Players are now playing 3-4 hours in one sitting. The friction that is forced on to the gamer’s hands will cause blisters if not treated properly.
In this article, we’re going to show you how you can avoid thumb blisters when playing video games.
How Do I Prevent Blisters When Gaming?
First off – let’s learn what a blister is. In order to tackle a problem, we need to understand the foundation of it. According to medicalnewstoday.com,
A blister is a pocket of fluid between the upper layers of skin. The most common causes are friction, freezing, burning, infection, and chemical burns. Blisters are also a symptom of some diseases.
The blister bubble is formed from the epidermis, the uppermost layer of skin. Its purpose is to protect and cushion the layers below. Blisters can be filled with serum, plasma, blood or pus depending on how and where they are formed.
This stops further damage and gives the tissue time to heal.
Consistently smashing your thumbs or fingers on the controller can cause this. Even a constant hard press of the joystick along the inside of the thumb can cause blisters because of the consistent friction. Your body naturally tries to protect itself by creating these fluid-filled sacks.
These fluid-filled sacks are both painful and can cause a barrier in your gaming experience. Even the smallest blister can throw off the timing when you’re aiming down the sights or hitting a combo. Especially if you’re a professional gamer, it’s important to take care of your hands, as they’re your money makers!
Prevent Blisters On Your Hands From Gaming
Now that we know how blisters form, let’s find some best practices to avoid them!
First, ease up on how hard your thumb is pressed on the joystick. In the N64 days, it was much easier to get a blister (those who played the fishing mini-game in Mario Party know what I’m talking about). Console makers have since added soft padding to the thumb sticks which add support and comfort to your thumbs.
The right amount of pressure on the thumbstick is often found by playing overtime. The biggest sign that you’re pressing too hard is if your thumbs hurt after gaming or the feeling of sensitive skin.
Second, I know this may seem over the top, especially for a casual gamer, but make sure you’re properly stretched out. Muscles can tighten up if kept in the same place for an extended period of time, so it’s important to stretch properly before you even pick up the controller.
Here is a great video from Dr. Levi Harrison explaining some easy to do wrist stretches:
Put your arm straight out (locked out), make a fist, and go in a clockwise circle 10 times to loosen up the muscles.
Once you’ve completed 10 clockwise circles, do 10 counter-clockwise circles. After these are completed, open up your fist to make a flat hand and make a circle from there.
Now we want to completely open our hands. Let the wrist hang, moving the wrist left to right 10 times. From there, put the wrist back flat and move it back and forth another 10 times.
Finally, lift your hand up and go back and forth, similar to washing a window in a car.
Lock your arm out straight. Bend your wrist down toward the ground. Take your opposite hand and pull down on your wrist, giving a nice stretch to the tendons.
Hold this for a 10 count until you start to feel loose. Make sure this is done on both hands.
For more exercises, watch the full-length video above from Dr. Levi Harrison!
How To Avoid Gamer’s Thumb
Gamer’s thumb, also known as de Quervain’s Tenosynovitis, is a condition in which the tendon’s in your thumb become inflamed. According to motusheals.com:
Gamer’s thumb is one nickname given to a condition called de Quervain’s Tenosynovitis. De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis is a condition in which the tendons that move your thumb become inflamed.
Repetitive strain on your thumb tendons leads to inflammation which leads to pain and limited movement. Gaming is a common cause of repetitive strain on the thumb, so De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis is often called “gamer’s thumb.”
Gaming isn’t the only way that you can develop this condition. Think about how much you use your thumbs while using your smartphone. That said, gaming may put a harder strain on your thumbs for a longer duration.
They go on to note that symptoms of Gamer’s thumb may include:
- Thumb pain after playing video games
- Pain and swelling near the base of the thumb
- Wrist pain that may travel up the arm
- Thumb and wrist pain that gets worse with movement
- A catching or popping sensation when moving the thumb.
If this is the first time you’ve heard of gamer’s thumb, it’s a relatively new injury. The best way to prevent gamer’s thumb is ultimately to rest and stretch your hands. Stressed tendons can ultimately lead to long term injury. As fun as gaming is, take an hour or so break between long gaming sessions for a hand cool down.
Here is another great video from the American Physical Therapy Association on how to prevent Gamer’s thumb:
Gamer’s thumb or blisters on the thumb can be easily avoided with proper care of your hands. Stretching and moving the muscles/tendons before exerting force to a controller should be part of your daily routine.
If it becomes a major issue, we recommend buying a gamer’s glove which can help with the friction.
We use video games as a leisure activity to get away from life, don’t stress your thumbs and limit your fun!
Related Q & A
What’s The Best Way To Not Get Thumb Cramps?
As noted above, it’s best to stretch your thumbs and their tendons before gaming. It may seem odd at first but it will help to avoid thumb cramps when gaming for long periods of time.
Are There Gloves I Can Wear For Gaming?
Yes! There are gaming gloves available that help players who play too aggressively avoid cuts and blisters on their thumbs.
We found a gaming glove here on Amazon to help protect your thumbs!