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OVERWATCH WRIST PAIN: FROM CHRONIC TO PAIN-FREE IN 8 WEEKS – PART 2

Welcome to part 2 of this case study about an overwatch player who had been dealing with wrist pain for 6 months. If you missed part 1 – CHECK IT OUT HERE

All better in 8 weeks

After eight weeks of consistent work and meeting with me, Anon1 was finally able to report that he had no numbness or pain. He was able to play in scrims and play soloQ after practice without any discomfort for a full week. He reported he had still been consistently using the brace at night to ensure the numbness would not occur in the morning and felt as though he was back to normal.

I wanted to make sure the player knew how he could prevent the recurrence of the pain so I made sure to test his understanding. The player told me that it was about making sure his wrist stayed in good working condition through exercising, good posture, body awareness, and schedule management. The perfect patient!!!

Final measurement for wrist strength

At the eight week mark, I assessed how the player was doing in terms of strength & endurance

Overall, we saw improved strength and endurance with less pain and numbness–as we expected! While the player still had improvements to make, he was ready to self-manage and understood how to do so.

THIS IS ALWAYS THE GOAL WITH PHYSICAL THERAPY It is our responsibility to teach players and our patients how to self-manage because we cannot be by their sides 24/7. This is why after any Physical Therapy visit or visit with a healthcare professional you should understand:

  1. What is the source of the pain?
  2. What is the cause of the pain? (Endurance, schedule management, increased pain sensitivity, etc.)
  3. What is the exact roadmap of your return to play?
  4. What can I expect with the rehab process?

If you learn how to monitor your own symptoms and understand the process of rehabilitation, you’ll be successful in the long-term, not just this one time. As physical therapist we provide guidance and start you on your journey (and sometimes get you back on track) to better health.

What can you learn from this story

Anon1 had been dealing with chronic wrist pain and numbness for six months and was able to return to high volume of play at a high level without any pain after EIGHT weeks of consistent management through exercise, lifestyle change, and better body awareness.

Here are the major things you can learn from this story.

Improved endurance

As I have mentioned so many times before: the majority of injuries in esports are due to repetitive strain (overuse, cumulative strain, etc.). Our tissues are unable to handle the stresses applied to them over time and break down. It is up to us to condition the our gaming tools (wrist, forearm, hands and really the rest of our body) to handle long periods of typing and clicking through ENDURANCE-based exercise. For those of you who read my landmark article about overheating, you’ll know that this is what we mean by increasing our meter. (And for those of you who haven’t, here’s a link

I’ve created a general injury prevention routine you can follow along with to build your endurance here!

Tissue adaptation takes time – consistency is key

This is the hardest truth for most players to swallow. Many pros and casual gamers may stick with a program for 2-3 weeks, notice only a slight improvement, and then give up. This is one of the largest initial barriers to success. Tissues take time to adapt and develop in strength/endurance. Research shows that it takes roughly 6 weeks for tissues to make a change in strength. This means for the full resolution of a chronic or moderately chronic injury, you need to be consistent with exercises and lifestyle changes for at least six weeks.

That’s not to say that it will take six weeks for you to feel any change. Usually, you’ll notice a difference in 1-2 weeks as you have more efficient activation of your muscles and develop more awareness of your body’s limits. The bottom line is you have to remember to be consistent with your exercises and stay on track with your injury treatment program to stay on the road of recovery.

Take control of your own life:  understand yourself and how your body works

This one is something I always stress at the end of my meetings and visits with patients and pros. In the end, a medical professional cannot be by your side 24/7. It is up to you to learn more about how your body works and better understand how to modify your schedule, adjust your posture, and incorporate your exercises to ensure the rehab process goes smoothly.

Hope this was helpful for anyone who has wrist pain as an overwatch player – especially if it is in the same region as this professional player. PLEASE SHARE THIS WITH ANYONE YOU BELIEVE IT WILL HELP – I WANT OUR COMMUNITY TO STAY HEALTHY 🙂 If you have any questions – feel free to email me at matthewhwu@1-hp.org regarding anything in this case.

 

Until next time,

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