Soccer Goalkeeper Gloves to Avoid Wrist Injuries
May 23, 2023
One of the risks goalkeepers are subject to is intense wrist injuries with the way they land or jump to catch the ball. Take this time to get to know possible wrist and hand injuries and how they can be avoided with soccer goalkeeper gloves.
Wrist/hand injuries goalies experience
Distal radius fractures
A distal radius fracture is most common with adolescent goalies when an adult-sized ball is used instead of a junior one. However, it can happen to any goalkeeper when making a save from a direct shot. The injury happens when the hand is pushed back toward the wrist.
Because there’s a risk of re-displacement, distal radius fractures normally heal after using a plaster cast, but it means players affected lose an average of forty-two days of playing. Non-goalkeepers could return to the game sooner, but goalkeepers need the extra time to heal given the nature of their position.
Consider these statistics:
- Of sports-related distal radius fractures, soccer accounted for 50 percent of them.
- Synthetic pitches increase the likelihood of these fractures by a factor of five.
- Of all upper limb injuries, wrist fractures are the seventh most common injury at 17 percent of all wrist injuries.
Ulnar shaft fractures
These fractures occur when roughly the outer side of the forearm sees intense impact like a fast-traveling ball, connection with a goal post, or connection with another player. Following this injury, the player will need to wear an ulnar gutter splint and/or a functional brace depending on the recovery progress.
The higher the level of play, the more likely a scaphoid fracture becomes. Scaphoid fractures are a result of the small bone below the thumb breaking. With goalkeepers, it’s likely due to stopping a shot, falling on an outstretched hand, or colliding with another player. This fracture will either be non-displaced, meaning the bone breaks but remains aligned, or displaced, meaning the bone shifts out of place.
Normally, players will feel pain and tenderness at the base of the thumb, but a scaphoid fracture won’t always cause enough pain for players to think they have a fracture which can lead to further problems. If the fracture isn’t addressed, there will be reduced blood flow to the rest of the bone, causing nonunion, and possibly arthritis if the bones don’t align properly.
Players will need to wear a cast for eight to twelve weeks for the healing process, followed by physiotherapy and/or wrist training to counteract the stiffness. Without quality soccer goalkeeper gloves and technique, goalkeepers are at a high risk of missing the majority of their soccer seasons.
Scapholunate ligament injuries
Goalkeepers will sustain this injury after a fall onto the wrist. The result is a gap between the scaphoid and the lunate. If it’s just a partial ligament injury, it can be treated with physiotherapy and the player can return to the game after around a week. They should wear a splint for four weeks following this for added support.
If the injury is unstable, it generally requires surgery and a recovery time of three months. If the injury is missed, players will feel pain, weakness, clicking in the wrist, and the inability to take weight on the wrist. Undiagnosed, it will lead to arthritis or scapholunate advanced collapse (SLAC) wrist.
Triangular ﬁbrocartilage tears (TFC)
When goalkeepers fall on an extended wrist, they can tear their TFC which affects the carpus and the ulnar. Any rotating or gripping movements will be compromised and painful. Usually, rest, immobilization, and medication are enough to treat this tear, but if recovery is elusive, sometimes steroid injections are needed.
This is another of the many reasons why gloves with wrist support are essential to goalkeepers. These movements are essential to goalkeeping, so take the necessary precautions to avoid injuries.
The most common dislocation a goalkeeper will encounter is finger dislocations. This happens when a goalkeeper makes a save where the majority of the impact is on the finger. Usually, a splint or supporting strap is enough to help heal a dislocated finger, otherwise, surgery may be needed.
Goalies will experience other finger injuries as well when a ball (which can travel up to forty miles per hour) jams the finger. Not to mention, saving the ball can lead to fingers being stepped on or kicked by opponents. Soccer goalkeeper gloves provide extra protection and support to the fingers so simple hits don’t injure them.
Tendon injuries happen when a goalkeeper hits the ball, collides with others, or hits a goalpost. They’ll require a surgical fix and a recovery period as they’re more serious injuries. One example is the mallet finger when the ball hits the top of a finger or thumb pushing it into an unnatural position.
Falling on an outstretched hand can stretch or tear wrist ligaments and lead to a sprain. Sprains will be painful, they’ll swell, bruise, and reduce wrist movement and strength. With sprains, rest and ice can heal it. Other times if the sprain isn’t healing well, a cast or surgery is necessary.
Other ways to avoid wrist injuries
- Wear gloves with wrist support. The amount of injuries goalkeepers sustain that have to do with their wrists makes soccer goalkeeper gloves self-explanatory. They provide superficial protection and support to the fingers and wrists during saves and falls. Storelli uses reinforced backhands and finger spines for ultimate protection.
- Wear the right cleats that will lower the risk of slipping and falling onto the hands.
- While not always possible, opt to play on level fields that reduce the risks of falling.
- Always warm up and stretch before both practice and games to warm up the body and muscles. Warmed-up muscles are more flexible and less likely to tear in sudden motions.
- Rest between games and practice. Leave the body time to heal and recover naturally so overload symptoms don’t creep up. Simple strains can be healed before the next game by giving them downtime.
- Use age-appropriate soccer balls. Youth players should use junior balls, not adult-sized soccer balls.
Check out the selection of soccer goalkeeper gloves at Storelli to find a pair that matches your play style and preferences. Take advantage of the technology we use to optimize your performance. Browse the collection here.