Nerve damage from revolvers?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Throwbackguy, Jun 20, 2022.

  1. Throwbackguy

    Throwbackguy Member

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    Not sure if this is just revolver-specific. [Moderator, feel free to re-post in 'general' if need be.]

    I'm having an issue with ring-finger numbness, where my finger comes into contact with the trigger guard (trigger-hand). Now, my LGS is very much auto-heavy; and none of my friends currently even have any revolvers of their own; so I don't have any local/quick answers. BUT... This seems to be more SA-related, where while re-cocking one-handed, the full weight of the gun momentarily rests on just that one finger. In my case, the entire outer side of the second (middle) bone is completely numb; and this is at least chronic, if not permanent. I'm not panicking or anything; just wondering if it is a 'bad habit' I was never schooled on, or a consequence of focusing too much weight on one specific area. Anyone got anything to add?
     
  2. .308 Norma

    .308 Norma Member

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    Without actually watching you shoot and re-cock your revolver, I have no way of knowing. I can only tell you that I just tried re-cocking the 2 SA revolvers I have handy (a Ruger Blackhawk and a Freedom Arms Model 1997) and my ring finger was nowhere near the trigger guard with either of them.
    That's not to say that that Ruger Blackhawk (a .45 Colt) won't make the tendonitis in my right elbow scold the heck out of me if I run a cylinder full of "Ruger Only" loads through it. And my wife deals with arthritis in her right wrist and thumb joint - leftovers from her IHMSA days with a Ruger Super Blackhawk .44 Mag. But I just asked her, and she told me she doesn't have any problems with any of her fingers.
    My wife did have to have an operation for carpal tunnel syndrome in her left wrist. But that was the result of too much time spent on a computer keyboard (she was an Administrative Assistant) and Workman's Comp paid for everything. :cool:
    Edited to ask - are we talking about the same finger? I mean, when you say, "ring" finger, are you talking about what I might call my "middle" finger?
    If so, I take back what I said about my "ring" finger not being anywhere near my revolver's trigger guards. Of course my middle finger is right up against my revolver's trigger guards. It's just that I don't call that finger my "ring" finger. :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2022
  3. Tacoma

    Tacoma Member

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    In my experience that could easily be the result of that finger getting battered by the trigger guard during the recoil cycle. This is a function of both grip design and severity of felt recoil from a particular revolver ( Small, light guns with small grips being the worst offenders.) Try changing grips to something that keeps your finger lower /backed away from the trigger guard and see if the issue goes away. Gloves for range use might also help.
     
  4. Hal

    Hal Member

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    A video of this happening would help quite a bit.

    I must work the action differently since my ring finger doesn't come anywhere near the trigger guard.
     
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  5. Palladan44

    Palladan44 Member

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    I'm a high volume shooter.
    I have no doubt chronic nerve damage to my shooting hands, loss of sensation in fingers, a bone spur on the palm pad of my right hand middle finger. If you watch a high quality video slow motion of a gun being fired, it's evident that in repeating that say 150,000 times no doubt will cause injury to the hands firing it.

    I've noticed every gun is different. All steel construction of revolvers have no real effective way of absorbing the shock to the shooter, other than maybe rubber grips. No real good way to change technique, because the revolver fires approximately 300x faster than human reaction time.

    I handload, and my best mitigation for ergonomic injury to myself is just making target shooting (high volume) loads as light as possible while getting desired accuracy. I can conservatively say that my high volume handloads are at least a 30% less recoil impulse than that of the factory loads of the same caliber. And they really make all the difference.

    Hogue, Pachmayr or similar grips are a MUST for a shooter revolver, aren't they guys?
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2022
  6. doubleh

    doubleh Member

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    This certainly a new one to me. Not having M.D. after my name I'm not qualified to answer.
     
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  7. beag_nut

    beag_nut Member

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    Better more-closely define which finger that is. My ring finger (left hand, next to pinkie) never gets close to anything on a firearm, and I shoot left-eye dominant. Maybe a future visit to an orthopedist?
     
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  8. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    Having had surgery for "trigger finger" you sure as heck can have nerve damage in your hand. Now my nerve damage was primarily caused by a narrow bone passage and an inflamed nerve. Sort of like pulling a ball on a string through a small hole. I had to stop shooting 45 ACP for a year, because the recoil from a 45 ACP exacerbated the inflammation and my hand hurt. So I shot 22 lr. Have to do something. Your hand is a very complex thing, nerves have these twisted passages through all those bones, and it may be that you have nerve inflammation anyway, and the pounding from a handgun is causing more issues. Repetitive motion injuries are common as all get out.

    Go see a hand doctor. For my trigger finger, the first thing they did was inject a steroid to reduce inflammation. The nurse said, "some injections hurt worse than others, and this one hurts the most!" She was right! Ouch, ouch, ouch. The steroid reduced the inflammation, things were wonderful till the inflammation came back. Then it was to the slab in the lab for hand surgery.
     
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  9. Throwbackguy

    Throwbackguy Member

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    Maybe I should be more specific in my loose definition... (This is turning out to be MUCH harder to write about than just show...!)

    Not Ring finger, but Middle finger. The one you throw to people. (!) It's mostly revolvers, but I've also noticed it in my Mark IV as well: So, not really caliber-specific, but WEIGHT-specific. It seems that, between loading mags of an auto, or while cocking (one-handed) a revolver, the weight of the gun rests almost solely on that finger; I think this is what's causing the damage. Whether .22 or .45colt, the biggest characteristic seems the weight, not the recoil after the shot. [Although, that could be either the initial damager, or an accomplice; maybe a chicken-or-egg outcome here.] Seems to be confined to the outside of the middle bone (phalange, right?). Could be bad technique, that no one's corrected me on; but holding my hand further away/lower would seem to be counterintuitive to good control. Like I stated, not sure if this was an unintended consequence of 'bad hand technique', or something that gnaws away at the periphery of any heavy handgun usage. Just lookin' fer opinions, or others' examples.

    ...And disclaimer here: I'm older than I WANT to be, but not so old as to think I'm gettin' TOO old to have this kind of fun.
     
  10. J-Bar

    J-Bar Member

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    Best advice so far is consult a hand specialist. I don’t think your symptoms are caused by shooting or manipulating handguns.
     
  11. UncleEd

    UncleEd Member

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    Nerve/muscle and bone damage, I believe, is
    inevitable with excessive use of handguns.
    It grieves me when I see postings by members
    literally bragging how they happily can handle
    magnum loads of any caliber in any size gun.
     
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  12. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    Kinda like the dog that chews on electric cords. Eventually, the dog will get the message.

    A Bullseye Pistol shooter with a President's 100 patch showed me the hand scars from the surgeries on his shooting hand. He almost had more trigger finger operations, than fingers!
     
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  13. bangswitch

    bangswitch Member

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    Can you post a picture of your hand, holding a revolver in a shooting position? Preferably the most offending revolver you have. How large are your hands (or small) and how "meaty" (or skinny/bony) are your fingers? Could it be that you have to grip higher to have a secure grip due to hand strength, or because the grips are too large for your hand? The higher you grip, the more pressure you'll put on the portion of your finger the red arrow points to, which would put more pressure on the nerve pointed to with the red arrow, in the pictures

    Below are three pictures of me holding a revolver and two semiauto's. There is also a diagram of the right hand (palm is facing you) with the nerves of the hand in yellow. Note there is a nerve on either side of each finger, and all of the nerves gather together into the median nerve or the ulnar nerve and pass through the wrist. I made a red arrow at the point where my finger meets the trigger guard of each handgun, and a red arrow on the corresponding nerve that would be compressed. The green arrow has little to do with the issue under discussion, but is where people with carpal tunnel syndrome have issues.

    I'm 68, so I think I'm probably in that same range as you are, give or take.
    IMG_1900 (2).jpg IMG_1906 (2).jpg IMG_1901 (2).jpg nerves_of_the_hand1342942330291-640x504 (2).jpg
     
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  14. Pat Riot
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    Pat Riot Contributing Member

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    I would highly recommend you see a hand specialist. Your problem may be as @bangswitch mentioned. It may even be coming from elsewhere, like elbow or shoulder.

    Quite a few years ago I injured my right hand and in particular middle finger right where the trigger guard rested in it when shooting my Ruger Vaqueros. I had an accident with a bungee cord, of all things. I tried wearing a glove but that was a no-go for me. I used a wide band-aid and placed the pad of at the side of my finger where it touched the trigger guard until my finger healed.

    This may help you temporarily, but I would see a doctor. Nerve issues may not resolve themselves.
     
  15. 375supermag

    375supermag Member

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    Hi...
    I shoot a lot of handguns particularly the .357Mag, .41Mag and .44Mag plus a lot of .45ACP and my sons' 10mm, plus various other calibers.
    I find that a shooting glove helps protect the shooting hand from excessive recoil.
    Another helpful thing is to use those spring loaded hand exercisers to strengthen your hands.

    I am 67 years old and despite shooting big bore revolvers for decades, I have zero issues regarding pain in my shooting hand.
    I also regularly practice shooting with my off hand fairly regularly. I learned the necessity of that due to a work related stress fracture in my right wrist that my doctor advised me to not shoot right handed for an entire spring and summer in 2001.
     
  16. CoalCrackerAl

    CoalCrackerAl Member

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    Changing grips worked for me. With my magnums i was always banging my middle finger on the trigger guard.
    20210725_221135.jpg
     
  17. Sacramento Johnson

    Sacramento Johnson Member

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    Hi,
    Start by getting a referral to a NEUROLOGIST. (They specialize in central and peripheral nerve dysfunction, among other things.) A good history, physical exam and then EMG/NCS testing will probably clarify the diagnosis and treatment plan.
     
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  18. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    I think you may know the answer. I have similar issue with the middle finger of my right hand. Years of it getting beat with trigger guards on different guns, (usually when I didn't grip them correctly) and it takes very little pressure on it for it to get "tender". One reason I prefer DA revolvers over SA is because of the type of grip SA have on how they allow the trigger guard to bang against my middle finger under heavy recoil. Now all you SA aficionados, don't get upset...I know you love your plow handles and the way they "roll" the gun in your hand. Growing up as a kid I was given my granpa's old Fox SxS. The original trigger guard had been broken and before he gave to me, he fashioned one himself outta a piece of metal. Works just fine, just hammers your middle finger with heavy loads or a soft grip. Out of sentiment I have never changed it. I have since learned to shoot it with my middle finger. Problem solved.....but I do believe it too has contributed to the noticeable amount of scar tissue between my knuckle and the first joint of my middle finger.
     
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  19. murf

    murf Member

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    try taping your two middle fingers together.

    luck,

    murf
     
  20. The Glockodile

    The Glockodile Member

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    Ulnar or Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?
     
  21. The Glockodile

    The Glockodile Member

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    Just inebriated with the sensation of invulnerability that the cloud of alfa maleness brings, they are...

    Similarly, it's kinda like the fantasy of your firearm saving yourself and lives of your "friends, family, and loved ones," when your BMI is 35.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2022
  22. wcwhitey

    wcwhitey Member

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    So are we talking about the outside of your middle finger getting pounded from the trigger guard? Sorry but I am kind of confused. If that is the case it would be an easy fix to get grips that bridge the grip frame to the trigger guard. A grip adapter will do this to a certain degree also. Sorry if I didn’t read this right.
     
  23. Obturation

    Obturation Member

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    Sure, nerve damage is possible and likely if your a high volume shooter. The harder the recoil the faster it'll happen. Technique is crucial . when I shoot single action (saa) guns I curl my pinky under the grip, it supports the butt and helps bring the muzzle back down on target more quickly. Never had an issue with my middle finger but I did shoot a 44 mag Blackhawk for a while that would batter my trigger finger on the first knuckle due to recoil. Didn't have anything but a sore knuckle from it though.

    I shoot a decent volume of 454 casull rounds but most from a double action, I've had folks say that it'll damage metacarpals (spelling??) And nerves. Never had an issue, this is due to technique I think. I don't fight recoil, I let the revolver rotate in my hand and do what it wants to. It's counter intuitive to keep a moderate grip on a hard recoiling gun but you don't want to fight recoil like that- you won't win. I will add that I have well above average hand and wrist strength , I've been an auto mechanic for 20 years. This isn't a factor as I see it, strength is helpful but it's like fighting a machine, you won't win. There's a certain feel you get for this stuff, words fail me to describe it but it's a firm relaxed but rigid grip & arm/wrist. You're not fighting it but you're controlling it.

    Clear as mud?
    Ok, good.

    Best of luck, hope your condition improves.
     
  24. Pat Riot
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    Pat Riot Contributing Member

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    Pssst…Hey Buddy, it’s spelled A-L-P-H-A ;)
     
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  25. The Glockodile

    The Glockodile Member

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    No way!

    You mean muscle break, Creedmore, nickle, and stainless steal are all incorrectly spelled?

    Don't tell anybody, it might get folks offended...
     
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