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Ergonomics for e-Sports Athletes

Physio&SoleClinic Physiotherapy February 14 2020

Spinal, wrist and hand pain, and eye strain are common overuse injuries sustained by e-Sports athletes. These problems can be made worse by sub-optimal game-station design, poor posture and/or prolonged sitting. Sustaining a particular posture for an extended duration can cause physical fatigue and poor ergonomics can place increased stress on our joints, muscles and tendons.

Observing good ergonomics can reduce your risk of overuse injuries and potentially facilitate peak physical performance during training and competition.

Computer ergonomics

Chair

Your gaming chair should have adjustable seat pans and heights that allow you to:

  • have both feet resting evenly on the ground
  • have both thighs to be slightly tilted and comfortable

The backrest should support the lower back adequately and facilitate its natural curve.

Your forearms should be approximately parallel to the ground and level with the keyboard. Having adjustable and detachable arm rests are recommended as they allow the forearms to be level with the keyboard and keep the shoulders relaxed.

Desk

Desk height should be adjustable to allow for the computer screen to be at eye level.

Mouse & Keyboard

Purchase a keyboard and mouse that allow your hands and wrists to rest in a comfortable position. Support devices such as wrist rests can be purchased to facilitate a better natural resting position. These support devices are especially useful for prolonged periods of play or for intensive training sessions.

Position the keyboard at a height which allows your elbows to rest comfortably at ~90 degrees.

Purchase a mouse that fits your hand. Go for a palm-grip mouse (instead of fingertip or claw grip ones) as they place the least amount of physical stress on your wrist and fingers.

Palm-grip mouse (Mercado Libre, Tienda Official)

Monitor

Monitor should be tilted slightly to reduce glare. Alternatively, you may wish to consider a monitor filter. A height-adjustable monitor can also help to ensure that the screen is at eye level. Ensure that the monitor is ~50-100cm away from your eyes to reduce headaches and visual fatigue.

Time management

Breaking up your screen time with regular small breaks (few minutes!) every hourly can minimise risk of computer vision syndrome (headaches, dry/sore eyes, blurry vision), muscle-related discomfort and tiredness. In these short breaks, you can walk, stretch or simply stand!

Finally…

Your setup will be unique to you, based on your size, equipment, and available space. You don’t have to have “perfect” ergonomics at all times. But if you can make a few small changes to your arrangement, you’ll find yourself in a more comfortable position to continue gaming.

For ergonomics advice and strategies that are individualised for your specific needs or activities, please seek your trusted physiotherapist who can help you make small but significant adjustments during game play.

Su Yunfeng
Principal Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist
Physio & Sole Clinic

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