View Full Version : Catcher' glove hand injury question
10-26-2009, 11:42 AM
Son plays on a high profile 18 under team. The pitchers usually throw in the 85-90 range. This weekend they played a night game on a field that had poor lighting. Son said he had trouble seeing the ball.
Anyway early in the game he caught one that hit the bone on his palm right below the index finger and his hand started to swell, the swelling and pain became so great he had to pull himself out in the fourth inning.
The question this brings up is how to protect against this happening again or avoiding it. Is it strickly a question of technique? Was he unlucky to catch it where it could do damage? (he has never had this problem in day games) Could it be his mitt? (He is currently using a Rawlings Gold Glove model) Is there a pad available on the market to place in the glove for added protection or would this limit feel for the ball?
Any feedback from similar experiences or solutions is greatly appreciated.
10-26-2009, 11:55 AM
After my son broke a bone in his Glove hand back in July I did some research I did a little looking around and this is a very interesting article below I found.
He always used a palm guard/ inter glove to protect his hand. But what I would like to find out is how/who customizes mitts.
July 1, 2005 -- From Little League to the Big League, any baseball player can tell you that catching a fastball can hurt, and now a new study shows it.
Researchers found that despite improvements made to the catcher's mitts used by professional baseball players, the gloves still do not adequately protect the hand from repetitive injury.
"We found signs of early blood vessel damage that could lead to significant symptoms and could end a player's career," says researcher T. Adam Ginn, MD, chief resident in orthopaedics at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., in a news release. "The glove's current design does not protect the hand from trauma."
Catchers may receive 150 pitches per game at speeds sometimes over 90 miles per hour, plus warm-up and practice pitches that could add up to 300 catches per day.
Researchers say catcher's mitts are designed to ensure that most pitches are caught at the base of the webbing (at the bottom of the index finger, where many blood vessels and nerves are located). But fielder's mitts are designed to catch the ball in the webbing itself, away from the hand.
That means catchers may face higher risks of blood vessel injury due to the repetitive impact of the ball hitting the gloved hand. Over time, this can lead to reduced blood flow and damaged nerves with symptoms including numbness and tingling, reduced sensitivity to cold, and blue-tinged skin.
Catcher's Mitts Fail Protection Test
In the study, researchers examined 36 players on four minor league baseball teams in North Carolina in 2001. The players included nine catchers, seven infielders, and 15 pitchers.
Researchers asked the players about symptoms of injury in the hand and used ultrasound and other testing to evaluate blood circulation in the hands. They also looked for other signs of injury, such as enlarged fingers.
The results showed that catchers had abnormal blood flow in the gloved hand compared with the other hand. In addition, catchers had index fingers that were an average of nearly two ring sizes bigger on the gloved vs. the nongloved hand -- a sign of injury.
Researchers found catchers were more likely than other players to have hand weakness, with 44% of catchers reporting this symptom compared with 7% of infielders and 17% of outfielders.
Catchers also reported more symptoms of weakness, numbness, tingling, and pain in their gloved hands (56%) vs. their throwing hands (11%).
Researchers say that these symptoms occurred during games and not at rest, which leads them to believe they are caused by nerve trauma in the hand rather than reduced blood flow. But they say the early blood vessel damage found in the study could lead to permanent circulation problems.
"Despite well-padded catchers' mitts and the use of additional padding, the catchers examined in this study continue to demonstrate changes to the gloved index finger consistent with trauma," says Ginn. "There should be further study into glove design."
10-26-2009, 09:01 PM
Well, my son is only 10 - but after catching a bunch of games between last fall and spring, he would occasionally complain of pain in that exact area.
What I ended up doing was getting him was one of these: http://www.palmgard.com/innerglvxtra.htm. (Same thing Drill mentioned I believe) My son said it helped quite a bit. I don't know if it's going to do any good for 90 MPH fastballs though.
I wouldn't consider it a technique issue unless it happens often. Sometimes you just mis-judge where one is going to end up. Whenever I got it wrong, I always ended up taking it on the thumb myself.
As for the glove, I have an Akadema Praying Mantis that has a big pad that runs along the bottom of the pocket that protects the base of the index finger. The downside is that the pad (at least for me) causes more pop-outs than I would normally expect. I don't know if that's a route your son would want to take - he may have better luck due to the harder throwers than I usually deal with. The mitt takes forever to break in, but it is padded more heavily than anything else I have ever tried.
10-26-2009, 10:22 PM
Palmgards are great, but tough to find sometimes. Out of necessity, Ursa Minor 'settled' for a Louisville Slugger Bionic Inner Glove, which is like the Palmgard, but he prefers the LS because it's a bit more flexible as uses it when he plays infield. But, he was 'drafted' to catch two games in a tourney a couple of weeks ago and the LS worked just fine, even with our four year old, $60 catcher's mitt. You can get a description (and a pretty good deal on) the Bionic here:
10-27-2009, 05:12 AM
As a follow-up to the guys' answers, any gloves/mitt has a spot where the only thing between the ball and your hand is a piece of leather, and the only solution is a palm guard. A less expensive option is to take any thick sponge and cut it so that it will fit inside the glove. It works really well.
10-27-2009, 08:39 AM
As a follow-up to the guys' answers, any gloves/mitt has a spot where the only thing between the ball and your hand is a piece of leather, and the only solution is a palm guard. A less expensive option is to take any thick sponge and cut it so that it will fit inside the glove. It works really well.I used to do the sponge thing when I was a catcher, but Mom would only let me use her worn out sponges, so I ended up with little sponge flakes dribbling down my forearm.
Here are a couple of other options, available here (http://softballjunk.com/protectivegloves.htm):
10-27-2009, 09:13 AM
I used to do the sponge thing when I was a catcher, but Mom would only let me use her worn out sponges, so I ended up with little sponge flakes dribbling down my forearm.
You shouldn't set your mom up like that as there is a mom joke here just waiting to come out.... The Seinfeld "sponge worthy" episode comes to mind. lmao!! :laugh :waving :D
To the OP, I 2nd/3rd the palm guard product. I use it while playing softball and it greatly reduces any soreness when I play 1B. It also makes my glove/mitt fit snug which I like as well.
10-28-2009, 02:36 PM
You shouldn't set your mom up like that as there is a mom joke here just waiting to come out.... The Seinfeld "sponge worthy" episode comes to mind. lmao!! :laugh :waving :DI had to google the reference, as I wasn't familiar with that episode. And, no, it wasn't one of those kinds of sponges, thank you. :debate: I was the last of four and Mom was out of the child-rearing business by that time, which led to the following debates with my older siblings.
Sibs: "After she had you, she and Dad were scared to have any more."
Me: "No, they just figured that they'd finally gotten it right."