Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a martial art that has been growing in popularity in recent years. It is a grappling art that emphasizes ground fighting and submission holds. While BJJ is generally a safe sport, there are still some common injuries that can occur. Here are the six most common BJJ injuries and how to prevent them.
Types of injuries in BJJ
There’s different types of BJJ injuries and some are more serious than others. The most common types of BJJ injuries are:
- Sprains and strains
The most common type of injury in BJJ is a sprain or strain. This can occur when a joint is hyperextended or when a muscle is overexerted. To prevent these types of injuries, it is important to warm up properly before training and to always use proper technique when rolling.
- Joint dislocations
Joint dislocations are relatively common in BJJ compared to other sports, especially in the shoulders and fingers. These usually occur when a joint is forced beyond its normal range of motion. To prevent joint dislocations, it is important to tap early when submitting and to never force a lock that does not feel comfortable.
- Cuts and scrapes
Cuts and scrapes are fairly common in BJJ due to the close contact between opponents. They can often be prevented by wearing appropriate clothing such as a rashguard and spats. If you do get cut, it is important to clean the wound immediately and do your skin care routine to avoid skin infections such as staph.
- Brain trauma
Brain trauma is relatively rare in BJJ but can still occur occasionally, usually from headbutts during guard passes or from taking an elbow to the head while mounted. To prevent brain trauma it is important to be mindful of your head position, especially while rolling with white belt spazzes. This is actually good practice for self defense as well.
The most common BJJ injuries
Neck injuries: Neck injuries are relatively common in BJJ due to the constant pressure that is applied during chokes and submissions. To prevent neck injuries, it is important to tap early when caught in a bad position and to use proper technique when applying chokes.
Knee injuries: Knee injuries are also common in BJJ, especially when incorrect techniques are used during guard passes or takedowns. To prevent knee injuries, it is important to learn proper technique from a qualified instructor and to warm up properly before training.
Elbow injuries: Elbow injuries are common in BJJ and can occur when the elbow is hyperextended during an arm bar or while posting on the mat. Elbow injuries can also happen when the elbow is overused, in which case you can get either a Tennis elbow or a Golfer’s elbow.
Finger injuries: Finger injuries are relatively common in BJJ due to the constant gripping and twisting that is required during sparring. To prevent finger injuries, it is important to let go off grips early instead of always trying to hang on and to tape your fingers when you hurt them.
Ankle injuries: Ankle injuries can occur when an opponent twists the foot during a submission hold such as an ankle lock. To prevent ankle injuries, it is important to learn proper technique from a qualified instructor and to always tap early when submitting.
Back pain: Back pain is a common issue for many people, but it can be exacerbated by training BJJ. To prevent back pain, it is important to warm up properly before training and to focus on good posture and technique when rolling.
Cauliflower ear: Cauliflower ear is a condition that can occur when the cartilage in the ear is damaged from repeated trauma. This is a common injury in BJJ due to the constant contact between opponents. To prevent cauliflower ear, it is important to wear appropriate headgear such as a grappling hood or ear guards.
BJJ Injury Prevention Tips
BJJ is a sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and sizes, but it’s important to stay safe while training. Here are a few tips to help prevent injuries in BJJ:
- Warm up thoroughly before each session. This will help loosen your muscles and prepare your body for the physical activity ahead.
- Stretch regularly. Stretching helps improve your range of motion and flexibility, both of which can reduce your risk of injury.
- Do strength training exercises. Strong muscles can help protect your joints from injury.
- Wear the appropriate gear. Invest in a mouthguard and ear guards if you plan on rolling with live partners.
- Listen to your body. If something feels wrong or uncomfortable, stop what you’re doing and seek medical attention if necessary. Don’t try to “tough it out” as this could make an injury worse.
- Leave your ego at the door. It’s cliché because it’s true. There’s no need to prove anything to anyone – focus on your own training and development, and don’t do anything that puts your safety at risk.
- Tap early and often. It’s better to tap out of a submission hold before it does serious damage than to try and tough it out. If you find yourself in a bad position, don’t hesitate to tap out and live to train another day.
BJJ is an incredibly rewarding sport, but it’s important to stay safe while training. By following these simple tips, you can help reduce your risk of injury and enjoy a long, healthy career in BJJ.