Gamer’s Thumb, Prevention, and Treatment

Gamer’s Thumb, Prevention, and Treatment

I know what your first instinct is…What is “Gamer’s Thumb”? Gamer’s Thumb involves the inflammation of the fluid-filled sheath or tunnel (called the synovium) that surrounds the two tendons that control movement of the thumb. It can often be referred to as flexor tenosynovitis, stenosing tenosynovitis, de Quervain’s tenosynovitis (dih-kwer-VAINS ten-oh-sine-oh-VIE-tis), or de Quervain syndrome. Two common stenosing tenosyonvitis diagnoses are:

  • DeQuervain’s Syndrome – this involves the first dorsal compartment of the wrist, and we will cover this in this article
  • Trigger finger – this occurs when a fibrous nodule develops in the digital flexor tendon


Locking, clicking, and pain is felt in on the front of the thumb (“fingerprint” down to palm) and / or on the back of the thumb (fingernail down to wrist). de Quervain’s tenosynovitis is associated with a number of activities, such as:

  • Use of gaming console
  • Keyboard use
  • Texting (hence “texting thumb”)
  • Knitting
  • Carrying a baby (hence “mother’s wrist” and “mommy thumb”)
  • Golf
  • Racket Sports


  • Rest: Meaning avoid the activities that cause pain and swelling; repetitive motion may irritate the sheath around the two tendons, causing them to thicken and swell. You may be able to resolve the issue by curtailing these motions
  • Physical Therapy
  • Anti-inflammatory medication (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen
  • Corticosteroid injection
  • Surgery


    • Limit time spent gaming / texting / etc
    • Exercise your thumb during regular breaks
    • Soak thumb in warm water during regular breaks
    • Acupuncture
    • Foam rolling – just a few minutes help keep thumbs, fingers, and wrists feeling great


I loved video games, but I loved the classics. Super Mario Brothers, Contra, Mike Tyson’s Punch Out (007-373-5963), Zelda, and Solomon’s Key. Lately I just get my ass kicked by my wife in Dr Mario. But I have started an eSports page you can follow over at Twitch: DrFeilgood Go check it out and let me know what you think!

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