Home Gaming Dr. Levi Harrison talks mouse sensitivity, Gaming and RSI

Dr. Levi Harrison talks mouse sensitivity, Gaming and RSI

4 min read
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Dr Levi

Given our increasing reliance on technology, we might find ourselves spending more and more time in front of our computers. While most of us use them daily for work, many of our readers are spending several hours a day gaming. Some of you may have experienced discomfort brought on by lengthy gaming sessions, and others may be suffering from prolong use of a mouse which may have brought on repetitive stress injuries or carpal tunnel syndrome. These injuries, while mostly a nuisance, can be severe and you can actually hinder your abilities if they’re not taken care of early on in your gaming career.

Dr. Levi Harrison, according to his Twitter bio, is an “Orthopedic Surgeon, Physician, Health & Fitness Coach, Author, Motivational Speaker, eSports Doctor & Fan.” A few days ago a follower tweeted asking questions about the topic at hand, which Dr. Levi said he would elaborate on in an article. The eSports Doctor delivered, and this is honest a must read for all gamers. His Twitter is filled with at home stretches and exercises for those who do not have the time, or cannot afford, to go to the gym.

Choose your arsenal

His initial point talks about mice being ergonomic, and while they state they are, these ergonomics may differ from person to person. He’s correct in saying that very few of us get the opportunity to try a mouse out before we purchase it, and this of course leads us to use whatever we purchase, and this can damage your hand/wrist.

“Ideally, you want your fingertips to line up with the edge of the clicking point. Many RSI conditions develop because of hyperextension or hyperflexion, in which your fingers and wrist must flex, or reach an unnatural distance based on their current position. Overreaching on a mouse can cause tension on the tendons and anatomical structures of the hand, and as you can imagine, those micro stressors can add up over the course of a long gaming session. This also causes extreme fatigue of the small muscles of the hand, hence allowing for the possibility of developing RSI. At the end of the day, this may be a perpetuating component of RSI, but may also inhibit your efficiency in accurate and efficient clicking.”

There are a number of professional players who have suffered from RSI or CTS in the past, and you’ll often see them doing certain hand warm-up techniques prior to playing. Dr. Levi also has  YouTube channel where he has offered a number of guides on how to warm-up your hand prior to playing.

Some of these exercises are extensive and may not be directly related to aiding gaming injuries, but they are helpful and will not take up more than five minutes of your day when done properly. There are simpler methods to warming up your hands/wrists, which a simple Google search will show you.

High versus Low DPI

You DPI and sensitivity play a much more crucial role in your physical health than you’d have previously thought. According to Dr. Levi RSI and CTS are more common in gamers who use a higher DPI and make use of flicking and faster movements to force accuracy. These are common in MOBA and RTS games such as Starcraft II and League of Legends.

“In observing high sensitivity play, it is clear that there is more of an isolation of the hand and wrist in regards to movement. These players will flick their wrists aggressively, hence engaging the anatomical structures that are at risk for developing RSI including the carpal tunnel, the wrist, joints, tendons, etc. Often, these fast wrist movements can cause the hand position to remain in an unnatural, strained, or obtuse angle, which in turn, may incite inflammation from this aggravating motion.”

Your FPS players might opt for the lower DPI option as movements are more controlled and precise.

“Low sensitivity on the other hand seems to encourage a more controlled style of play, which is conducive to keeping the wrist in a neutral position, hence promoting proper ergonomics. Also, it seemed as if individuals using lower DPI were engaging their shoulder, forearm, and upper extremity in more of a natural, evenly distributed fashion, hence, distributing the workload across the upper extremity, rather than focusing all of the strain on a rapid, sharp wrist movement.”

Personally for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive I use a DPI of 400 and sensitivity of 2.4. This means my movements are a low slower and more precise. I’ve also been lucky enough to test and try a number of mice before I settled on the Steelseries Rival 300. It’s a larger mouse, ergonomically designed to fit your hand, but I have heard of gamers who feel it’s a bit too big.

If you are spending upwards of six hours a day gaming, I’d highly recommend you give the article a read and start paying attention to your health.

Last Updated: April 13, 2016

24 Comments

  1. Admiral Chief in New York

    April 13, 2016 at 12:35

    At first glance, he looked like he was doing a Terry impresonation:
    https://i.ytimg.com/vi/h69wozqWXfY/maxresdefault.jpg

    Reply

  2. Admiral Chief in New York

    April 13, 2016 at 12:37

    If I could game 6 hours per day, I’D BE SO HAPPY!!!!!!!!!

    Reply

  3. Alien Emperor Trevor

    April 13, 2016 at 12:53

    I prefer setting my mouse to high DPI & sensitivity, particularly since I barely move my wrist – bulk of the mouse movement is done using my thumb & little finger to move the mouse.

    Back when I used to play Quake I would set my sensitivity to 30 when most people were in the single digits or low teens. Friend tried it once & couldn’t handle the movement speed.

    Reply

    • Raptor Rants

      April 13, 2016 at 13:02

      You are one of “those”

      #glares

      Reply

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        April 13, 2016 at 13:05

        If you mean one of the naturally gifted with superior reflexes and hand-eye coordination that the world disparigingly label as “lefties” – then yes. 😀

        Reply

        • Raptor Rants

          April 13, 2016 at 13:09

          One of the weird ones who have a mouse so sensitive it cannot be pleasurable to use.

          Reply

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            April 13, 2016 at 13:20

            It gets weirder, I use my mouse left handed at home & right handed at work. 😀

          • HvR

            April 13, 2016 at 13:22

            GIVE IT THE HOSE!!!!!!

          • Admiral Chief in New York

            April 13, 2016 at 13:22

            NO, give it to the volcano

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            April 13, 2016 at 13:33

            PRAISE XENU

          • Victor Moolman

            April 13, 2016 at 13:33

            A nuke would be much more efficient…it’s portable

          • Raptor Rants

            April 13, 2016 at 13:36

            freak

    • CongoKyle

      April 13, 2016 at 13:09

      I don’t know man. I used to play with high DPI and sense when I played Dota 2 and SC2. I definitely used my wrist for most of the movement. I also went from claw grip to hand grip when I moved from the Sensei to Rival. I now use my arm as a pivot when playing CS:GO with a much lower DPI. I actually had wrist problems before so I guess you’re either not playing as much as these guys, or you’re some super human with unique technique.

      But again, as it states this is for prolonged use (10+ hours a day as most pro-gamers commit to their game).

      Reply

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        April 13, 2016 at 13:19

        My palm doesn’t really come into contact much with the mouse, so the bulk of the movement I can do quite easily by wiggling my thumb & little fingers around in concert – particularly since I’m not having to go from one far side of the screen to the other 99% of the time. A proper surface for my mouse is a must though.

        But yeah, 10 hours would be a very long weekend gaming session for me, usually half that – not an every day thing.

        Reply

  4. BakedBagel

    April 13, 2016 at 12:59

    Damn interesting as shit.

    Edit: excellent topic and article Congolesian Kyle

    Reply

  5. Greylingad[CNFRMD]

    April 13, 2016 at 13:14

    This is something that a lot of people underestimate, it gets even worse if you play a string instrument, especially bass guitar and don’t do these types of exercises before slapping the living daylights out of it…

    Reply

  6. the ultimate opportunist

    April 13, 2016 at 13:55

    my forearm’s start burning around the 5 second mark, but I’m not about to give up

    Reply

  7. chimera_85

    April 13, 2016 at 15:26

    After being on console for so long, coming back to PC has caused my hands getting sore! Can one change the DPI on any mouse? I just have a random Logitech non-gaming mouse haha.

    Reply

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