Too Much Candy Crush Can Put You in the Hospital

When a 29-year-old man began experiencing chronic pain in his left thumb, the reason why proved to be anything but routine.

When a 29-year-old man began experiencing chronic pain in his left thumb, the reason why proved to be anything but routine.

A report in JAMA Internal Medicine examined the unusual case of how one patient went from playing Candy Crush on his smartphone to undergoing surgery. Lead author Luke Gilman, MD, and his San Diego-based colleagues reported that the man played the game, which involves swiping colorful candy to align similar pieces, “all day for 6 to 8 weeks” which led to pain and loss of active motion.

“On physical examination, the left extensor pollicislongus tendon was not palpable, and no tendon motion was noted with wrist tenodesis,” the authors wrote.

While the patient’s thumb metacarpophalangeal range of motion was 10° to 80°, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons noted that a normal range is 0° to 50°. His thumb interphalangeal range was also off at 30°to 70° when 0° to 80° is typical.

“The clinical diagnosis was rupture of the left extensor pollicislongus tendon,” the team revealed.

The man had an extensor indicisproprius, which is one of the 2 tendons responsible for extending the index finger, to extensor pollicislongus tendon transfer as a result. The researchers noted that the extensor pollicislongus tendon ruptured between the metacarpophalangeal and wrist joints during the procedure.

The extent of this injury may raise questions about why the patient didn’t seek medical attention sooner due to the pain. It’s possible that being so focused on Candy Crush reduced the pain perception.

“Future research should consider whether pain reduction is a reason some individuals play video games excessively, manifest addiction, or sustain injuries associated with video gaming,” the authors concluded.