Crispy Gamer

How to Play Videogames With a Bum Hand


A year ago, I tore a ligament in my right wrist, making it a royal "ouch" to play games. While in Madrid covering Planet 51 in April, I slipped on the marble floor and was unable to close that same hand completely for over two weeks. But I still wanted to play games. Here's how I did it.

1. Get a brace. You need one that doesn't hamper movement too much, so avoid the ones with a steel plate in them. I got a wrist support from Ace and removed the steel plate inside. There was some pain, but it held tight.

2. When the brace doesn't work, see a doctor. I found one of the top hand guys in New York City. He wanted to do surgery, but I didn't have time for a lengthy recovery. He gave me a shot of cortisone, which helped for a few months. Don't worry. It doesn't hurt. Too much.

3. DynaFlex rocks. When the pain came back after marathon sessions of ZEN Pinball, I was close to getting the surgery. Then, I found something called DynaFlex. It's a gyroscopic ball that strengthens your hand muscles. I worked out with it for between five and 15 minutes, every day. After a month, the pain magically stopped.

How To...

4. The tale of the tape. After the flop in Spain, I had a nasty bone bruise and was unable to game without pain for about three weeks. The thumb, index finger and part of the palm felt like LeBron stepped on them with cleated baseball shoes. To cope with this, I taped up the fingers. I found white medical tape amid first-aid swag Sony sent for SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs: Combined Assault. Taping up the offending knuckles worked really well when playing games where I did the same thing over and over for hours, like New Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo DS.

5. Heat it, water it, and cream it. Still, the hand is going to ache somewhat when you're done playing. Afterwards, I put it under hot water for about five minutes. Sometimes I rubbed on first-aid cream with pepper in it, like Cool Heat or Cliptol. Because you've gotta keep gaming.

Be aware that these things worked for me. But, aside from seeing a physician and following his orders, they may not work for you. I'm not a doctor, and I don't play one on TV ? or in videogames.

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