This is of course guesswork and I am not suggesting that this Nintendo Switch game is wholly responsible for my current shoulder issue, Nintendo has a LOT more lawyers and money than me, but after a little bit of research it started to become clearer to me.
Back in March, at the start of the first UK lockdown, we bought Ring Fit Adventure as an extra tool to help us keep fit. It looked like a fun experience and something that the whole family could enjoy, and so I started to play it.
I have been losing weight and getting fitter over the past few years and can do 100 press ups, planks for decent periods of time, side planks on both sides and various other exercises that require upper body strength. The exercises I have undertaken have been consistent and I am always careful not to injure myself as that would defeat the object of the exercises in the first place.
And so I followed the Ring Fit guide in the early stages and chose an easy setting so I could get used to how it worked. My wife did the same and was enjoying it more than I was. I should note that she stopped using it after a few weeks as she had some upper back pain while playing which was also unusual as she undertakes a variety of exercises as well (4 half-marathons and 2 marathons in the past 3 years).
Despite following every instruction and using an easy setting I noticed some pain in my left shoulder / top of my arm and so I stopped for a few days. The trick for any pain is to avoid exercising the area and let it rest sufficiently. I then tried Ring Fit a week later and noticed the pain again after playing for 30 minutes so I left it.
The pain started to affect how I could move my left arm and it was then that I realised some proper damage had been done. I stopped all upper body exercises and stuck to walking and running, but alas the pain did not go away.
Fast forward to now and 6 months later the pain is still there and movement in my left arm is seriously inhibited. I have had injections, dry needling, strapping and multiple osteopath appointments to help it heal, but the process is very long for a rotator cuff injury and so the process will continue.
As you can imagine it is not the best injury to have purely because it takes so long to heal, it seriously inhibits what you can do and it may ultimately result in an operation (these are not always successful). And so I started to think back to how I could have caused the injury and the Ring Fit came to mind. The process of pushing a ring together is quite novel outside of a gym, but in Ring Fit you have to do so, for varying lengths of time, in a variety of positions. Over your head, in front of your belly, to the side etc and you get points for each successful completion.
It dawned on me that the Ring Fit exercises are undertaken in the positions I can no longer manage because of my left arm and the more I think about it the more certain I am that the injury was sustained playing Ring Fit.
I decided to have a quick Google to see if it was only me and it certainly wasn’t. Here are some examples-
‘Ring fit injury’ from Reddit
my shoulder(?) bicep(?) got injured when i pushed with all my strength on the ring during the start up of the game. How long would it take to recover or when can i start doing exercises again?
Alpha (tweeted here)
just left urgent care since I damaged my rotator cuff (right shoulder) while playing ring fit adventure
Less than a minute in, and a simple squeeze in on the ring led to a pulled muscle in my side? Back? I really have no idea what happened. I’d been driving for hours the day before, out to Long Island to see my mom and sister. Did that cause it? Did I lift something? Am I just really, really that out of shape?
Now, it could be that we are all not preparing well enough to use Ring Fit, but I don’t believe that to be the case. I know for a fact that I warmed up properly and I followed every single instruction, and here I am 6 months later with a continuing rotator cuff injury.
Obviously I cannot blame Nintendo, and I am not going to say the words, but the way you have to use the ring does not feel natural at all to me.