In an era of gaming being more competitive than ever, everyone is on the lookout for a strategy that helps them to stay one step ahead of the opposition. This led to the introduction of the ‘CLAW’ grip. If you can effectively manage your controller handling, the in-game improvements will be huge, with better accuracy being the main benefit. Recently however, there has been many professional players developing painful hand conditions, including arthritis. Lion Sourced take a look at why using the CLAW grip long term could cause serious damage to your hands.
Fatigue And Pain
After seeing the title of this section, you’re probably thinking ‘Fatigue from gaming, really?’ but despite what some people think, this is a real problem. When playing CLAW, you need to maintain a contraction on your index finger, which your body is not accustomed to. This will lead to fatigue and eventually pain not only in your fingers, but across your palm and lower arm.
Muscle injury is another problem faced by gamers who use the CLAW grip. This is due to overusing the FDI muscles that are located in your hands. Our muscles need a balance between concentric and eccentric contraction to function properly, while maintaining a CLAW grip only allows for concentric contraction. This imbalance of your FDI muscle group can lead to permanent injury to your hands in the long run.
Limiting The Dangers
There are a few ways that you can minimize the potential harm to your hands when gaming, these include:
Limiting Play Time
Playing for 6-8 hours a day can quickly fly by, but maintaining the CLAW grip for this period of time can be unhealthy. If you’re an avid gamer, try limiting your play time to 2-hour intervals, taking a break in between to allow your muscles to recover.
Eccentric Finger Exercises
When waiting in the pre-game lobby, why not perform a few basic eccentric finger exercises to restore the balance in your hands? You want to focus on exercises that try to contract your fingers, while you attempt to keep them as splayed as possible. The perfect product for such exercises is ‘The Xtensor’ developed by Rogue.
Try A Different Grip
If all else fails, reverting back to the original grip might be the way to go. Place your index fingers on the trigger buttons, while using your thumb to control the direction pad and thumb sticks. You’ll immediately notice that the controller is more comfortable to hold, reducing the pain you experience as a result. While this might come at a cost to your gaming ability, it’s certainly worthwhile for casual players.
Sure, playing with the CLAW grip could aid your accuracy in-game, but does it warrant putting your hands at risk? For aspiring professionals, particularly in games such as Call of Duty and Fortnite, consider using CLAW but split your practice time into shorter, more manageable chunks. If you’d rather avoid the pain altogether and don’t mind missing a couple shots, switching back to the default grip seems like the perfect solution.