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Common Jiu Jitsu Injuries And How To Deal With Them (Part 1)

common jiu jitsu injuries
By: Tyler Bishop
A few nights ago I was sitting on the mats talking with a few of my teammates from our competition team, and then I realized we had all actually been talking about our current injuries for the majority of the conversation. No, we certainly weren’t all sitting around throwing ourselves a pity party. We were sharing valuable information with each-other on how to get healthy again. Chances are, the injuries you experience in BJJ are not new. You likely know someone who has experienced the same injury. So it makes sense that you would take advantage of that social capital around you.
When you work out with intensity a lot – or simply train long enough – you are bound to develop some physical injuries. When you’re a jiu jitsu “junkie”, one day away from the mats can become an eternity. You begin to find ways to overcome injuries just to make it into class, and start making your body compensate for movements that are restricted due to soreness or injury. Unfortunately, some injuries can leave you out of commission. Many top competitors go crazy waiting to return to the martial arts mats. The good news is that some other obsessed individual has likely already experienced the same thing and figured out the fastest road to recovery. So it’s very important to tap into some of the collective knowledge around you in regards to common injuries. You can leverage others experiences about a speedy recovery, find out their treatment methods, and better understand the road to recovery. By utilizing the intellectual capital of training partners you will be back out on the mats in no time!
Note: We are not doctors, so don’t kid yourself. The information below is for educational purposes, and is not designed to diagnose or treat any conditions.

Outside Knee Sprain:

As someone that has experienced a fair amount of knee injuries and surgeries, I can say that without a doubt that ice is your best friend. Other things that have made  a big difference for myself when dealing with this particular type of knee injury is the inclusion of collagen and hyaluronic acid supplements. Making sure that your legs are strong and balanced can help prevent future injuries, and when recovering from an injury, nothing helps more than improving flexibility and dexterity. Yoga poses have provided a tremendous benefit to myself. You may also want to look at methodologies like “Ginastica” as well. Loosening up your hips and IT bands can provide a way to address a common root problem. Foam rolling and stretching can be some of the best ways to address this issue.

Jacked Up Fingers!

jacked up fingersMy close friend and podcast co-host, Jon “the Queen” Perrine, recently shared some valuable knowledge with me about keeping my hands healthy. Jon often tapes his fingers (here) to save his grips and fingers from unnecessary damage. By taping your fingers correctly you can reduce your ability to squeeze, thus saving your hands and fingers from “over-gripping”. If you are the kind of guy that squeezes every grip as hard as you can, and then leaves class writhing in pain. You might wan to give taping a try. Again, ice is your friend when recovering from almost any injury. Finally, by improving grip strength by performing exercises like: farmers walks, dead hangs, and gi pullup’s, you can build a strong grip that will protect your hands in-of-itself.

Sore Neck

neck injuriesHave you ever heard anyone say, “I really messed up my neck at BJJ practice, but then “popped” it by twisting it with my hands and it felt 100% better after that!!!!!”? Yeah, me neither, so don’t mess with your neck when it feels sore and injured. It is injured, so treat it with respect. Roll out the muscles against a wall by using a lacrosse ball (available cheap online), and then use ice to help the muscles recover more quickly. Using menthol creams to warm up the muscles prior to exercise or training can also help when you are easing back into activity. Ultimately, you need to make your neck stronger as soon as it’s healthy again. Practicing bridges on the mat before class can help you build and strengthen these muscles.
What other injuries do you struggle with? Let us know, and we will tap into our network of peers and see if we can’t address them in Part II of this segment.

19 replies on “Common Jiu Jitsu Injuries And How To Deal With Them (Part 1)”

I think that a very common problem in BJJ is back pain. A lot of guard players have that “BJJ posture” where they are hunched over from all the years of getting stacked or training with bad posture.
I’ve found that practicing yoga helps tremendously with this. If your yoga practice is focused towards it then it is easy to re-open those tight and hunched shoulders as well as to straighten out the spin again and regain proper posture.
I always do a 15 minute yoga routine before training and have been back pain free thus far. I’m sure a post about this could really help out a lot of people! 🙂

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A couple injuries I see all the time are; hyper extended elbow, torn labrum, and ankle sprains. Especially in white belt who refuse to tap to armbars, kimuras, and ankle locks. All of these injuries I’ve dealt with multiple times (I used to be a stubborn idiot). I’d be interested in hearing how you guys are dealing with these.
Ice, rest, and slowly re-strengthening the muscle should be prescribed for nearly any training injury, that’s pretty much first aid common sense.
I’d also like to add tiger balm, icy hot, or arnica to the list. These are great for increasing blood flow to injured ligaments!

This happened to me the other day. It’s very painful.. How do you guys treat the pain? I have pain killers & B-complex for medication. How long before you guys get back to training? I’d appreciate ur take on this injury. Thank you.

In particular I’ve had problems with hyper extended elbows.
Mostly when people ‘flip out’ on you throwing their weight around with no clear direction or aim.
Hydrate, ibuprofen, Rest, ice, comfort/compression, elevation/sling.
And learn to pick your rolling partners better. 🙂

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Would a common injury with arm drags be a swollen side, below the armpit and above ribcage?? Hoping so….

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