Doctors see more injuries from video games

BALTIMORE - Wii sports, Tetris, Madden NFL, if you have kids in the house or a grown man, chances are you have video games.

They can be hours of fun, but they're also becoming the source of a lot of pain.

Doctors say busting a move to the latest game can easily turn into breaking a bone.

When it's time to play, Ashley Friedman likes to groove to the music. The 7-year-old isn't shy about showing off her moves.

But it didn't take long for the fun to start hurting.

Ashley got a lot more than she bargained for while playing Wii's Just Dance 3 with her brother and some friends.

Her mom Meghan says, "All of a sudden I heard someone was crying, Ashley said mommy mommy and I came in and she said she hurt her foot."

Ashley says, "It was kinda pinching at first then it started to really, really hurt."

Ashley's parents didn't think much of it at first. But turns out Ashley hit her foot on the coffee table and broke it.

Dr. David Buchalter, an orthopedic surgeon at GBMC treated Ashley.

He says video game injuries are on the rise. "While it doesn't seem to be an epidemic it does seem to be that we're seeing these more often."  

Some of those injuries can be pretty bad.

Dr. Buchalter says, "I once had a patient who was trying to throw 100 mph fast balls with the Wii sports baseball game, was playing that regularly and developed painful rotator cuff tendonitis of the shoulder."

"The worst thing I've seen was an injury where someone cut their hand on the ceiling fan and had to have emergency surgery," says the doctor.

The repetitive motions from playing video games can strain parts of your body, especially your shoulders, arms, and hands and that can often lead to injury.

Dr. Buchalter says, "The thrill of these games is that they're really fun and that they're addictive and that people feel like they're getting exercise and activity which is great but at the same time just as with any activity you can overdue it and I think it's important to be mindful of that."    

That's why it's important to limit the amount of time you spend playing video games.

And in cases such as Ashley's, it's a good idea to make sure there's enough room to jump around.

Dr. Buchalter says it's also a good idea to move furniture out of the way, get the toys off the floor, and to be mindful of how high your ceiling is especially if you have ceiling fans.

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