Nintendo Wii Injury Reports Growing in Severity

Reports of injuries associated with the Nintendo Wii appear to be growing in severity as more peripherals have been introduced for the popular game system, requiring users to be more physical.

According to a letter published in the most recent edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, Karen Eley of Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust in the United Kingdom, details a serious foot injury sustained by a 14-year-old girl while playing the Wii. The girl fell off of her Wii Fit balance board and suffered a fractured foot.

The incident is just one of a growing number of injuries connected to the Wii, which have included head injuries, dislocated bones and even at least one case of traumatic hemothorax, which involved bleeding in the space between the chest wall and the lung.

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Many of the more severe injuries are related to use of the Wii Fit balance board, which rests two inches off the ground and requires users to quickly adjust their balance while standing on the board to play certain video games. Most commonly, users suffer what doctors call “Wii-knee” which is caused by frequent bending at the knee while using the balance board. In some cases, the injuries have involved the kneecap becoming dislocated. 

The injuries are not restricted to use by the balance board. The standard Nintendo Wii controller, a wireless remote that is sensitive to hand movements, has been associated with injuries being called Wii-itis by doctors and users.

As early as 2008, doctors warned about the risk of Nintendo Wii injuries, indicating that they were seeing an alarming number of new injuries by players of the Wii. Most of the injuries were associated with stretched or torn tendons, similar to tennis elbow. Doctors estimated in 2008 that the Wii put an average of 10 users in the hospital every week.

One of the problems, experts say, is that people using the Wii often do not approach it the same way they would normal physical exercise. They do not stretch first and often play for extended periods of time. Stretching before playing and limiting Wii play time to sessions comparable to doing actual exercise could eliminate many injuries, doctors say.

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1 Comments

  • BrookeOctober 26, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    I love that everyone has an opinion on wii related injuries, but I can assure you that these pains are not all general soreness. I'm was an active person before I for the wii, swimming running etc. But 19 months ago I got a wii and have not been as active ever since. I played baseball 5 times and I have numerous doctors, physios, chiropractors, acupuncturist, myotherapists that can attest to my w[Show More]I love that everyone has an opinion on wii related injuries, but I can assure you that these pains are not all general soreness. I'm was an active person before I for the wii, swimming running etc. But 19 months ago I got a wii and have not been as active ever since. I played baseball 5 times and I have numerous doctors, physios, chiropractors, acupuncturist, myotherapists that can attest to my wii related injury. While i would never even mention the word sue regarding this injury my lateral epicondylitis tendon was strained and stressed so severely that it has not healed yet. 19 months of treatment later and numerous cortisone injections has not settled this injury. And I've been in pain everyday since. 5 times was all I played it. It was not general soreness an still isn't general soreness. It doesn't matter if your an active person or not or nintendo tell you to take regular breaks between play. An actual injury can occur, from this game system and I don't think people should make light or what is a serious problem for some people. My medical bills for treatment so far are not a laughing matter. I sold my wii earlier this year after it sat unplayed for the 19 months. I'll never play one again. So until you do suffer or no someone who has suffered from an injury don't presume to judge that alll people are idiots or inactive all it takes is 1 time playing and any one of these commenters could suffer as I have.

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