How to avoid Carpel Tunnel on a stick?

This… might seem like a weird question (I read the newbie stick page and I didn’t seem to find this question being asked… of course, there’s always the possibility that I didn’t look hard enough), but you can get carpel tunnel via repetitive motions…

And, given that I’ve been doing “repetitive motions” for the 8 hours I played last night (training… lots of training), I’ve noticed that my hands are still hurting and that that probably isn’t a good sign (last time I experienced this was… well, with SF4 on a pad and F-Zero GX)…

SO, I was wondering what people who played for dozens of hours on end did in order to protect themselves; given that some of you guys have been doing this for years, how is it that you’ve managed to avoid these kind of problems?

(I’m going to assume that sticks aren’t made to be ergonomic)

Short of taking breaks every hour (which is a concept that’s hard for me to wrap my head around… but it might be the most practical solution), what else can people do to avoid problems?

Yeah, I don’t know if this is a stupid topic, but I mainly wanna fish for tips from people who’ve been doing this for years: how do you take care of yourself and still play a lot to get good?

Take a break, imo.

I’ve played for some long sessions, but I’ve never had actual physical pain. Especially considering that there are dozens of ways you can hold a stick to make it comfortable on your wrists & hands. I can’t even imagine how awkward your hands must be positioned to be cutting off blood flow or causing pain. If your stick is comfortably on your lap or on a table it shouldn’t be an issue at all. It’s not like a keyboard at a fixed desk, you can adjust it the way you need to. Just like working out, if you’re feeling pain while playing you’re absolutely doing something wrong.

I think it might help the other members if you explain how you hold your stick.

I personally hold my stick with 2-3 fingers and hover my fingers over the buttons like I’m typing.

What part of your hand/arm is hurting, you can try different grips. Also stretch man it helps. I know alot of people that injured there hands/fingers/arms from sports and music, if its hurting don’t use it that day, you will only make it worse.

Take breaks and try to make your motions as relaxed as possible. I see people using more excessive force than the LAPD when switching to stick, Japanese style sticks like the Madcatz ones require very little effort to register an input.

Yeah, it’s funny how people say there isn’t a “wrong” way to hold the stick, but that might be the case with me.

So… I hold the stick with my left hand: my wrist rests on the faceplate thingy and my thumb, index and middle finger hold the ball; my pinky and… other remaining finger (whatever it’s called) tend to be extended outward and don’t rest on anything (interestingly, that’s where the sore is right now).

With the buttons, my palm rests on the faceplate thing too and I mainly use all my fingers except the pinky (the region that’s to the side of my pinky is what hurts on that side, wrist down).

DAMN, I should take a picture; be back later with pics, but thanks for the on-going replies.

OH cool, what would be nice stretches?

ALSO, this has happened before (with shooters too, now that I think about it), but it didn’t get too bad…

Stretch the muscle that hurts before you play…also that sounds more like a cramp its that muscle right below your pinky right, yeah odds are your not moving it really, and because of your grip its constantly in a certain posistion, kinda like how your leg hurts, if you sit in a chair without moving it for about 5-6 hours. Just make sure you let go of the controller, and possibly grab that area and gently push it the opposite way…its kinda hard to describe. Then again 8 hours a day is still alot alot.

Breaks is a nobrainer, couple of stretches and typical physio movements (like rolling the wrist, opening and closing your hand, flexing your fingers out, moving your elbow around etc) should do the trick.
If you’re gripping the stick too hard aswell it can put strain on your hand and wrist, so if that’s the case, loosen it.

I tend to tap the buttons like I’m typing (though I use a 6-button setup, so I can see why your fingers might hurt from having to stretch over to the extra buttons)

When I used to play pad, I didn’t get any pain bar an occasional blister in the bend of my thumb because of how I positioned it over the d-pad.

just my 2cents

Also, you won’t get carpal solely from playing the game,it’s a combination of other factors in your life aswell.
It sounds though you might just have Repetitive strain injury, which is a common problem people who work with computers typing a lot get, there’s a chance it works with this aswell (In this case anyway, you can get RSI in other areas of your body too)

I had a training once on how to avoid CTS, and I’d say a stick causes a pretty low amount of strain on your wrists/hands when compared to something like regular computer use. In addition to breaks as people mentioned though, if you could alter the posture of your hands to minimize bending at the wrists, you’ll be a lot less prone to CTS.

I have RSI on both wrists from my MMO days, so I play with wrist guards on. I have my Hori far enough away from me that I don’t bend my wrists at all, and use a light two-finger and thumb grip on the stick. As mentioned above, don’t go nuts on the stick or you’ll hurt yourself. Relax and learn how to play with softer inputs.

The wedding/ring finger?

Hmm… wrist guards interest me.

That said, what’s the wrong way to bend your wrists?

Should my palms be like in line with my arms?

Should I be playing with my stick on top of a table or something?

(as of now, it’s on top of my lap)

I was playing for almost 13 hours straight yesterday at a launch party and my jaw hurts from talking more than my hands do.In fact my hands don’t hurt at all.

It could be the way you’re sitting. I played on a TE and something a little smaller (about the size of an SE) and sat upright in a chair with it on my lap, no pain to be found.

i hold my stick the same way as you, but I rest my pinky and ring finger on the case so im not holding my hand up the entire time im playing most of the weight is resting on the case.

I’m No Doctor, but…

I’m just short of halfway as a medical student.

Your pinky and ring finger on both sides feeling pain. Are they similar or different?

Answer that, but most importantly, I believe you’re putting too much pressure on the outer edge of your wrists, e.g. on the side that would be pointing towards the ground if you did a thumbs up sign (well, actually inner or medial in medical terms).

Carpal tunnel tends to involve the thumb and index finger due to the median nerve innervation. Your paraesthesia describes something more of an ulnar nerve injury.

Give your wrists a break if you’re getting these symptoms. The way you’re holding your stick sounds like it’s putting a lot of pressure on the nerve that innervates your pinky & ring finger.

Stop fapping with the same hand you move the joystick with.

idk my right hand used to hurt when i first started using a joystick… i just fooled with it a couple more days and i stopped feeling pain…

Change positions on your holding stick. are you an under the ball guy? switch to holding the stick as if it were an old american style bat stick and such.

i also suggest that you not hold your stick hard. You’ll get an awesome forearm that’s buff, but it does seem very uncomfortable.

BTW, i am not a doctor.

As an update on this: I found that putting the stick on a table that is roughly at the height where I’m extending my my arms somewhat forward and keeping my wrists straighte; I hold the ball from the top with three fingers and with my hand either on the side or hovering above, but because of my setup, I managed to get through yesterday without my hands killing me.
Thanks for the advise of everyone in the thread.

Also, jerking off doesn’t cause muscle strain: it causes blindness.