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Do you suffer from 'Wii-itis'?

November 10, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Doctors are seeing an increase in patients complaining of "Wii-itis."Wii is the new workout happening in living rooms across the country.

All across the U.S., grandparents are connecting with their grandchildren to play Wii. But doctors now say they're seeing an increase in the number of injuries from people who are overdoing it.

Noel Blair got hooked on bowling.

"Almost daily, I was doing it game after game after game, and then you lose track of how many games you've played," said Blair.

She pulled the muscle that sits over her sciatic nerve.

"I went to get out of bed, and I had the worst pain," said Blair.

It's not your typical sports strain. Orthopedic specialists call it "Wii-itis."

"It sort of sparked a whole other type of injury that we've actually never even seen before," said Dr. John Sperling, an orthopedic surgeon at the Mayo Clinic.

It's an injury that made its way into the New England Journal of Medicine. Doctors in Britain say up to 10 people are hospitalized each week with Wii-itis.

"For most people, they would play maybe an hour of tennis and stop after that, but with the Wii, there's an unlimited amount of time you can play and there's really not the same feedback of getting tired playing a sport," said Dr. Sperling.

In normal sports, the force of impact slows the arm. With Wii, no ball means no force, and swinging through the air causes strain.

"There's nothing really to resist that force," said Dr. Sperling.

Doctors say don't blame the game, just don't overdo it. A simple flick of the wrist is enough to bowl a strike or return a serve.

Thirty minutes should get in a good workout without causing pain. Make sure to warm up and take breaks, even if you don't think you're tired.

After physical therapy, Blair is back in the game, only now she hits her strikes sitting down.

There are health and safety warning that pop up during many of the Wii games. Doctors say the most common injuries are to the elbows, knees, back and forearms.


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