Swiss Docs Find New Skin Condition: PlayStation Palm

There are those who variously claim that video games can make you fat, violent or addicted.

Add sweaty-palmed to the list.

As reported by UK newspaper the Telegraph, doctors in Switzerland report that they discovered skin lesions on a gamer’s palm which they attribute to gripping a controller. Not to single out Sony’s system, but the Swiss docs have termed the condition PlayStation palmar hidradenitis.

Okay, maybe they singling out Sony’s system.

In any case, dermatologists noticed lesions on the hands of a 12-year-old gamer-girl. When she stopped playing for 10 days, the condition went away. Doctors suspect that intense sweating caused by tightly gripping the controller is to blame.

Nina Goad of the British Association of Dermatologists told the Telegraph:

This is an interesting discovery and one that the researchers are keen to share with other dermatologists, should they be confronted with similar, unexplained symptoms in a patient.

If you’re worried about soreness on your hands when playing a games console, it might be sensible to give your hands a break from time to time, and don’t play excessively if your hands are prone to sweating.

UPDATE: CVG reports on Sony’s response:

…PlayStation was launched in 1995 and has sold hundreds of millions of consoles over the last 13 years. We would not wish to belittle this research and we will study the findings with interest, but this is the first time we have ever heard of a complaint of this nature.

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  1. achet says:

    Sore hands and calluses have long been an endemic problem for young males, although it is of course only recently these symptoms have been seen in females and caused by video games.

  2. BrandonL337 says:

    No problem with gripping a psp really just a problem with the psp itself…



    …you know because it sucks…


    There have always been motherf*ckers, there will always be motherf*ckers, but what we can’t do is let them control our motherf*cking lives. -John Oliver, December 1st, 2008

  3. Arcanagos says:

    "Hey Doc, I think I’m getting ‘Road Rage Finger’"   XD couldnt resist the Bill Engvall reference

    "Go ahead and hate your neighbor, go ahead and cheat a friend. Do it in the name of Heaven, Jack Thompson’ll justify it in the end." – nightwng2000

  4. Austin_Lewis says:

    Same here.  I get in at least an hour a day on my acoustic Guild in my office, and my callouses are massive.  I could seriously put my callous on my stovetop and not care for a good while until the flesh started cooking.

  5. foolkiller79 says:

    I find it important to note to readers of both Game Politics and Joystiq that if you actually take the time to read the source story in the article (BBC for Joystiq) that the girl has idiopathic palmar eccrine hidradenitis, which is being aggrevated on her hands by her game playing.  Typically it manifests on the feet of physically active children.  So, gaming is just as bad as exercise when it comes to this condition.  So, before anyone reacts to anything it should be noted that the doctors fully recognize that the presence of an unrelated condition is needed before this can mainfest itself from gaming.  The whole "Gaming causes this disease" thing is just media hype. 

    So keep playing your games and laugh at the media for their reactionary attitudes to anything they find that allows them to target gaming. 

  6. GoodRobotUs says:

    I play guitar, I remember once at hospital they were trying to get a blood sample, which is usually done through the fingertips, but they had grown so hard from fretting that they had to take the sample from my arm instead 🙂

  7. SS says:

    lol sorry a stupid attempt at sarcasm.

    I meant to say that when  i work out i grip the bar way tighter then i would ever grip a psp.

    So, what’s the problem with gripping psp tightly.

    i mean yeah, my hands and wrist ache quite a bit after benching possibly due to the fact that my forearm’s really skinny.  It just, to me, shows that my wrist and hands are getting stronger due to the strain on them. 



  8. chadachada321 says:

    Well it depends on the type of discomfort. Aching muscles is a sign of progress and a good workout (if not over-done), but having your hands hurt is bad news (and would obviously be smart to take a break)

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  9. chadachada321 says:

    Me too, all the time. It was the part where I had to rotate the control stick that always hurt me…


    Those were good times…I wanna go back.

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  10. chadachada321 says:

    But…it’s just so obvious. If I clamp my teeth down really tight, I’m likely to get a headache or toothache. If I grip my controller really hard or grip hard with sweaty palms, I’m likely to have my hands hurt. It just seems kinda common sense to me

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  11. SimonBob says:

    Actually, I think the problem is specific to certain controllers; once in a while, I’ll get a bit of skin-flaking, but it happens more if I’ve been playing a PlayStation game, and not so much a Wii game. A dab of Swiss hand lotion clears it right up again anyway, though.  I’m surprised they haven’t reported a rise in ulnar nerve pinches (better known as hitting your funny bone) from people putting too much weight on their elbow while they use a mouse.

    The Mammon Industry

  12. Geryon says:

    I always figured it was common sense to stop playing if your hands started hurting, then again I can’t really talk, I used to be one of the kids that would give themselves blisters on the original Mario Party.

  13. Moriarty70 says:

    Just further proof that kids these days don’t know how to play games right. Back in my day, we never had these problems. Ow, that just felt really old.


    Seriously though, why is this just becoming an issue now? Haven’t we gone at least a decade with "ergonomic" controler designs?

  14. Wolvenmoon says:

    Some of the above comments are precious. "Oh no, they may have a reason to take our consoles away now!" or "Oh, that’s no problem, sweaty palms."

    No, sweaty palms leading to skin lesions. which depending on the usage can mean it could lead to infection and a permanent game over depending on how bad the infection gets. No, not death, loss of full use of one’s hands and fingers.

    They’re finding the physical effects that addiction has on console gamers. This is no different than saying that intense PC gaming can result in carpal/cubital tunnel syndrome, especially in bad postures.

    Nor is it any different than texting thumb.

    Take the warning as it is and encourage legitimate research into your interests even when it doesn’t say what you want. Else you’re no better than some of the outspoken critics of the game industry that prey on backwater state legislators.

    The informal name is kind of bad. I would have named it after one of the consoles selling better, but playstation palm sounds better than ‘wii hand’ (LOLINNUENDO) or whatever. They could have named it something cute if it were on PC, like "mouse paw" or something..haha.

  15. chadachada321 says:

    Seems like a "duh" to me. Any body part that is exposed to prolonged rubbing, sweating, or pressure can start to have negative effects.

    Plus I always rub my pants when my hands get sweaty, like Cerabret said

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  16. finaleve says:

    So sweaty palms…its normal.

    I don’t grip the controller tightly unless its to the point where it i’m the only one on my team in a game alive and I have to take on maybe half of the other time.  Those intense moments are when I really grab that controller.
    otherwise…my hand just gives the controller enough support to not fall down, even in a game of left 4 dead.

  17. gonzlamm says:

    actually the controler s was an original release with the japanese xbox. they never saw the fatty;). the states didnt get s until later. and just a reminder the japanese got an exclusive color xbox and freakin free shirts when it was released XD. while we got bunk in our homeland. lol thnx microsoft!!!!


  18. Verbinator says:

    No problem playing XBox controllers for a long time. Playstation controllers eventually became uncomfortable. Couldn’t use the old GameCube controllers for very long before they caused my hands to go to sleep.

    Perhaps, in order to increase their market share, hardware makers (not just third party groups) simply need to engineer ergonomically appropriate game controllers for multiple ages and hand sizes, instead of the "one size fits all approach" that has been with us since the Atari 2600.


  19. Hitodama says:

    Remember the original Xbox controlers? They were big but too many whiny Playtstation and Nintendo natives convinced MS to make the "S" controller… -_-

  20. alternate90sguy says:

    I don’t get to grip any controllers tight.  My hands are big, but companies like making their controllers small.  Drives me nuts sometimes, lol!

  21. Verbinator says:

    But that was OK, because it was educational.   (I still have my writing callouses a couple generations later).



  22. Adrian Lopez says:

    I used to get indentations on my index finger from holding pens and mechanical pencils in school. It used to drive me crazy thinking those depressions would remain there forever.

  23. Austin_Lewis says:

    This is a new name for an old phenomenon. Seriously, think about it. When fat people run, their thighs rub together, and because of sweating, the area is moist. What happens? It becomes a rash!  This is the same thing; some people’s hands sweat, the controller rubs, and voila, you have a rash.  ‘PlayStation palmar hidradenitis’ my ass.


  24. Canary Wundaboy says:

    My cousin has actually had this happen to him, he sweats a hell of a lot when he plays videogames, it used to really suprise me when he handed back the controller only for me to find it drenched in sweat, only because I never seem to have that issue. One time after a 12-hour Halo marathon his palms became incredibly red and sore to the point where he couldnt flex his hands without being in discomfort.

    I’m gonna point him towards this article and let him know he’s now a textbook medical case. =D

  25. Dan says:

    I always thought the 3rd party fan ventilated controllers were just a novelty.

    I usually wear fingerless cycling gloves while playing to keep my hands from slipping and to keep sweat residue from building up.

    —— Ago. Perceptum. Teneo.

  26. sheppy says:

    The only time recently where I gripped the controller in a fashion that could cause this was trying to use that damnably illplaced and illconceived Dpad for SFIV on 360.  Other times I do leave space.  Remember folks, just because your controll CAN support the mass of flesh attached to your digits doesn’t mean you have to grip that hardcore.

    Wall of Text Simulation- Insert coin to continue.

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