Nintendo Game Sparks Acute ‘Wiitis’

Too Much Gaming on Wii May Lead to Simulated Sports Injuries

Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on June 06, 2007

June 6, 2007 -- Spending too much time playing simulated sports with video games may lead to real pain and sore muscles, researchers say.

A letter in TheNew England Journal of Medicine details the first documented case of acute “Wiiitis” caused by extended play on the Nintendo Wii video game system.

A doctor in Spain diagnosed the new variant of Nintendinitis in a healthy 29-year-old male medical resident who woke up one morning with intense pain in the right shoulder. He hadn’t participated in any sports or physical exercise recently, but he had just purchased a Nintendo Wii video game system and had spent several hours playing the tennis video game.

With the Wii video game system the player faces a video screen and moves a handheld controller that senses three-dimensional movements. In the tennis video game, the player makes the same arm movements as in the real game of tennis.

“If a player gets too engrossed, he may ‘play tennis’ for many hours,” writes Julio Bonis, MD, of the Instituto Municipal de Investigation Medica in Barcelona, Spain. “Unlike in the real sport, physical strength and endurance are not limiting factors.

“With the growing use of this new video game system, the risk of the Wiiitis variant may be higher than that of Nintendinitis reported in the literature, especially among adults,” writes Bonis. “Physicians should be aware that there may be multiple, possibly puzzling presentations of Wiiitis.”