Increasing professionalism in competitive karate has led to a specific injury pattern. The aim of our study was to investigate the injury pattern in junior competitive karate and to evaluate the prophylactic effect of fist padding. During the 4 (th) Junior World Championships of the World Karate Confederation (WKC) 2004 235 karate fights were observed and injury-related data were recorded. Fist padding was used in 183 fights, 52 fights were carried out without. In 22 % of all fights we saw an injury. Most of them were mild injuries of the head and face: 32 bruises of the face (13 with epistaxis), 7 facial lacerations and 3 concussions (mild brain injury). 14 fights were stopped due to an injury. Only in the category male 18 - 20 years a higher rate of injuries was seen without fist padding (shobu ippon) compared to shobu sanbon (with fist padding). The injury pattern of junior competitive karate is comparable to senior karate. Fist padding does not generally reduce the incidence or severity of injuries.