NLH: Addressing e-device overuse

NLH: Addressing e-device overuse

Addressing e-device overuse
First published in the Leader Herald, Rodney Minor reporting, January 29, 2011

Too much texting, playing video games can cause injuries
January 30, 2011 – By RODNEY MINOR, The Leader-Herald

GLOVERSVILLE – Parents whose children frequently play video games or send text messages might want to make sure their kids are not doing too much of it.

Otherwise, it could end up being painful.

Repetitive Stress Injuries have been reported nationally in connection with texting on cell phones and overuse of the Nintendo Wii and similar video-game system.

Kirsten Lennon, a registered and licensed occupational therapist at Nathan Littauer Hospital, said the problem is people, especially children, tend to spend too much time texting or using the Wii.

“The Wii is great. It gets people up, it gets them moving,” she said. “But they have to take into consideration how much time they are using it.”

Repetitive Stress Injuries is a term for syndromes characterized by discomfort, impairment and loss of muscle strength and function, according to information from the hospital. The pain comes from people performing repetitive movements the human body was not designed to do.

As an example, Lennon noted the Wii – which uses a sensor and “Wii-motes” to simulate motions like swinging a tennis racket and throwing a baseball. A tennis game can include hitting 1,000 balls in a one-hour session. That’s because all someone has to do in the game is hit the ball, not run after it and take breaks like they would in a real game, she said.

Dr. Shannon?Colt, a pediatrician at the hospital, also noted that, with any video game system, it is possible for people to get tension headaches and feel sore from playing for too long.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website – – RSIs include carpal tunnel syndrome, bursitis, tendonitis, epicondylitis, ganglion cyst, tenosynovitis, and trigger finger.

While RSIs may be thought of as an older persons ailment normally, they can happen to anyone, she said.

Sometimes, bad habits that start in childhood can have a negative effect on someones health when they get older.

“If [children] can break those bad habits early, they will be ahead of the game,” she said.

Lennon had many recommendations to help people avoid excessively playing on the Wii, including:

Start slowly. See how your body tolerates an activity.

Cross train on the Wii, just like people do in real life.

Lennon said an easy thing to do is to switch between games. People could switch from bowling, to dancing, to playing guitar on the Wii, for example.

“People can use different muscle groups that way, not just reuse the same ones,” she said.

Warm up before you start playing, similar to how you would before exercise.

If a person’s body starts to hurt, they should take a break. They should not play again until the pain is gone.

Treat pain from playing just like any other; Use ice, rest and if the pain persists talk to a doctor.

Colt noted that parents may have to step in and limit their child in how much time they spend playing.

However, there are other ways parents can approach the issue if they think their child is spending too much time playing one game. One way is to urge their child to switch to a different game, she said. If they want to, they could even challenge their child to play a different game against them, she said.


Americans between the ages of 8 and 18 spend an average of 7 and hours a day using an electronic device. Also in America, 75 percent of 12 to 17 year olds own a cell phone and 1/3 of teens send more than 100 text messages daily, according to information provided by the hospital.

Lennon said excessive texting can lead to RSIs, also.

Part of the problem is many keyboards tend to be small, so one finger is all most people can use to type. People also tend to have bad body position when they type, which she demonstrated by taking her phone out and hunching over in imitation of the bad posture.

Lennon recommends people alternate fingers when they text. People should take a break once in a while if they find themselves sending messages frequently, she said.

She demonstrated a couple of exercises people can do as well to stretch out their fingers before using them. One involved the thumb on each hand against the fingers on the same hand five times. She also used rubber bands, putting them on her fingers and opening them to build up strength.

Colt noted there are more than just physical ailments that can result from too much texting.

In addition to sometimes being a distraction and promoting poor writing, too much texting could hurt a child’s social skills.

Lennon said while they have not seen children coming into the hospital with ailments related to use of the Wii or texting, they wanted to get the word out about it. Injuries from overusing the Wii and texting have become national issues, she noted, and it will help local parents to be aware of the issue.

For more information about RSIs, visit the NINDS website at

For more information about using the Nintendo Wii safely, visit

Cheryl McGrattan, public relations director for Nathan Littauer Hospital, said the hospital also will put together a YouTube video about stretching before using the Nintendo Wii. She said it should be available on the hospital’s website in the next three weeks.

Kirsten Lennon, Occupational Therapist left and Dr. Shannon Colt at Nathan Littauer Hospital talk about overuse injury in electronic devices.

Preventing Sports Injuries in Young Athletes Clinic Tomorrow

Nathan Littauer Hospital Creates a Clinic to Help Young Athletes Play Safe and Stay in the Game

GLOVERSVILLE, NY (09/14/2010)(readMedia)– Nathan Littauer Hospital has created a seminar to address the growing problem of youth sports injuries. And people are taking notice. “The STOP Sports Injuries campaign is proud to help support the work Nathan Littauer Hospital is doing to raise awareness about the topic of athletic overuse and trauma injuries in today’s youth. We look forward to the progress their efforts will make in the local community,” said James Andrews, MD, renowned Orthopaedic surgeon and STOP Sports Injuries, co-campaign chair.

The seminar, held tomorrow night, will educate athletes, parents, trainers, coaches and healthcare providers about the rapid increase in youth sports injuries, the necessary steps to help reverse the trend and the need to keep young athletes healthy. STOP Sports Injuries campaign highlights include teaching proper prevention techniques, and discussing the need for open communication between the athlete and their support circle, including coaches, parents, trainers and their physicians.

Littauer’s Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Team

Cheryl McGrattan Hospital spokesperson explained, “This is a timely issue. The response from the community has been great. We are expecting a lot of people tomorrow night.” She added,”The seminar Preventing Sports Injuries in Young Athletes will be given by some of the best physicians in their field.” The clinic will take place September 15, 2010, 6:30 at the Holiday Inn in Johnstown and will be led by Dr. Gerald Ortiz, Orthopaedic Surgeon, Dr. Todd Duthaler, Emergency Medicine Physician, Dr. Richard Solby, Pediatrician and William Oates, PT as they address sports injuries in young athletes.

Driving the local initiative is Littauer’s Physical Therapist, William Oates. “I am extremely committed to this initiative” stated William Oates, Director of Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation for Nathan Littauer Hospital. He added, “Simply put, we need to educate our region about how to prevent our young athletes from becoming injured for life. I myself suffered as a young athlete with an overuse injury.”

“Regardless of whether the athlete is a professional, an amateur, an Olympian or a young recreational athlete, the number of sports injuries is increasing – but the escalation of injuries in kids is the most alarming,” said Dr. James Andrews adding, “Armed with the correct information and tools, today’s young athletes can remain healthy, play safe, and stay in the game for life.” With Nathan Littauer’s help Dr. Andrew’s vision of a healthy athlete will be realized in our area.

If you would like to read more about this exciting initiative you can do so here:

Free. RSVP required, 517-773-5533 or by email:

September 15, 2010 at the Johnstown Holiday Inn.


6:00-6:30 Registration and Light Refreshments

6:30-8:15 Program begins, presentations by Dr. Ortiz, Dr. Duthaler, Dr. Solby and Bill Oates.

WHO:Nathan Littauer Hospital creates a seminar to prevent sports and overuse injuries in young athletes.
WHAT:A seminar “Preventing Sports Injuries in Young Athletes”.
WHEN:Wednesday September 15, 2010 at 06:00PM Eastern Time (US & Canada)
WHERE:Holiday Inn
308 North Comrie Ave
Johnstown, New York 12095
NOTES:If you would like to read more about this exciting initiative you can do so here: