Master of Science
Dr. Volker Nolte
Catchers commonly develop abnormal blood flow in the ulnar artery, digital ischemia in the index finger, and index finger hypertrophy as a result of continual trauma to the hand. The hand sustains peak pressures that are much greater than the recommended thresholds for repetitive tasks. The objective of this study was to measure the peak pressure on the hand when catching a softball and to determine which glove type (catcher’s glove, first baseman’s glove or fielder’s glove) is most effective at reducing the peak pressure on the hand. Pressure data was collected using Tekscan pressure sensors. Results indicate the hand sustains an average peak pressure of 232 kPa (first baseman’s glove), 269 kPa (catcher’s glove) and 191 kPa (fielder’s glove). The distal phalanx of the index finger most frequently sustains greater pressure than any other region of the hand. The fielder’s glove resulted in significantly lower peak pressures to the hand than the catcher’s glove (p=0.001). No other significant differences occurred between the three types of gloves. Modification to the glove design should be undertaken to minimize the risk of hand injury.
Hicks, Brittany M., "A Comparative Analysis of Softball Gloves: Catcher's Glove Yields Highest Peak Hand Pressure" (2015). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 3353.