BJJ Fingers: Preventing and Treating Injury

Home » BJJ Fingers: Preventing and Treating Injury

BJJ Fingers, Preventing and Treating Injury: Introduction

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) is a martial art and combat sport that focuses on grappling, ground fighting, and submissions to stop your opponent. It is characterized by the use of leverage and technique to control an opponent, and is widely used in selfdefense, MMA, and other combat sports. The use of hands and fingers plays a major role in the techniques used in BJJ, making it important to take precautions to prevent finger injuries.

Why Is It Important To Take Precautions to Prevent Finger Injuries?

Finger injuries are common amongst BJJ practitioners, and can significantly impair their ability to continue training and competing. As such, it is important for BJJ practitioners to take measures to protect their fingers and prevent injuries. This includes proper taping strategies, strengthening the hands and fingers, and developing good technique in order to minimize the risk of injury. Additionally, it is important to know how to properly treat and rehabilitate finger injuries if they do occur. In this article, we will discuss the importance of injury prevention and treatment for BJJ finger injuries.

Types of Finger Injuries

A portrait of hands with BJJ Finger injuries

Sprains

A sprain is an injury to a ligament, the tissue that connects two bones together. In BJJ, sprains usually occur when a joint is bent too far or twisted too quickly, resulting in a tear or stretching of the ligament. Sprains can range from mild to severe and can cause pain, swelling, and difficulty moving the affected joint.

Fractures

A fracture is a break or crack in a bone. In BJJ, fractures can occur due to a direct impact or a fall, and can range from hairline cracks to more severe breaks. Fractures are typically more serious than sprains and can cause severe pain, swelling, and bruising in the affected area. They are also much more difficult to heal, and require more time to fully rehabilitate. If you suspect you have suffered a broken bone, it is important to seek medical care as soon as possible.

Causes Of BJJ Finger Injuries

 

As a martial artist, I understand that BJJ finger injuries can be painful and debilitating, and can significantly impact your performance in practice and competition. In this section, I will discuss the various causes of BJJ finger injuries, including poor technique, overuse, and trauma.

Poor Technique

As a BJJ practitioner, it is important to use proper technique in order to avoid finger injuries. Poor technique can cause unnecessary emphasis on using your grips for control, leading to excess stress on the fingers. Over time, this added stress, if not allowed to recover will lead to strains, sprains, and even fractures. To reduce the risk of finger injuries, it is important to focus on proper hand positioning, body alignment, and developing grip strength. Additionally, it is important to pay attention to your body and be conscious of your movements, as this will reduce the risk of accidental finger injuries.

Another consideration is that if techniques are performed properly, grip strength should not be the determining factor in success. Put plainly, a practitioner who is over reliant on their hands should be focusing on proper weight distribution during pins, and body positioning to maintain control. The less you rely on your hands, the more control you will exert in the end.

Over Use

Another common cause of finger injuries is overuse. Repeated stress on the fingers during heavy gripping of the gi, or perhaps lengthy hand fighting can be too much stress on the hands. To prevent overuse injuries, make sure you take regular breaks from training. If we are bein honest, Most of us are tougher than we are smart. If your grips are blown out and you can barely tie your belt, consider taking a round off. The 5-7 min rest may be the thing that saves you from a devastating injury, and when considering the big picture one round off will have little to no impact on your fitness or your technical progress.

Traumatic Injury

 

In addition to overuse injuries, BJJ finger injuries can also be caused by traumatic injury. It is not uncommon for a finger getting caught in an opponent‘s gi or getting jammed during a scramble or sweep. Often times, improper break falls during takedowns cause finger injuries. In these cases, the injury is usually more severe and may require medical attention. In order to reduce the risk of traumatic injury, it is important to practice caution when falling or making explosive movements. One tip given to me is to keep your fingers together when you train, as if you were swimming. Also, making a fist with your hand is a good way to prevent your fingers from getting jammed or caught in the Gi.

How do I Prevent BJJ Finger Injuries?

Whitebelt holding his hands

As with any sport, the best way to treat an injury is to avoid it in the first place. Here are some tips on how to prevent finger injuries while training BJJ:

Warmup Before Training

One of the best ways to prevent finger injuries is to warm up before training. This will help reduce the likelihood of strains and sprains caused by sudden, intense movements. I recommend doing dynamic stretches, such as arm circles and wrist rotations, to get your fingers and wrists ready for the session. Additionally finger flicks are a great way to warm up your hands.

Performing Finger Flicks:

Hold your hands out to the side and make an OK sign with both hands. Create as much tension as you can before the OK sign breaks an you flick your fingers. Next, do the same thing on the middle finger, then ring and finally the pinky finger. Perform this repeatedly until you feel some fatigue building up, 1-2 minutes.

Use Proper Technique

Using proper technique is also essential for preventing finger injuries. In BJJ, it is important to use your entire body to execute movements, instead of relying solely on your arms and hands. Unfortunately, a lot of bad positioning can be saved with strong grips. Make sure you are drilling techniques with precision, and use your position, not your hands to create control. This will help spread the load across your entire body, reducing the strain on your fingers.

Finger Taping for the Prevention of Injury

Finger taping is a great way to provide extra support to your fingers during training sessions. When taping, it‘s important to use a tape that is specifically designed for athletics. J&J Is my favorite brand. Begin by cutting off four to five pieces of tape that are about three inches long. Next, wrap the tape around the base of your knuckle, wrapping in an X pattern. Take care to not wrap it too tightly.

Strength Training with The Iron Mind Hub

The Iron Mind Hub is another effective tool for preventing finger injuries in BJJ. This device is designed to strengthen your grip, wrists, and fingers through targeted exercise. To use the device, simply grab the hub to your fingers, and attach a weight plate to the end of the hub. Perform 5-8 Deadlifts per hand, rest 3-5 min and repeat until you feel as though your hands have been challenged.

Abandon Useless Grips

In my experience, one of the best ways to prevent finger injuries is to give up on useless grips. When we grip our opponent‘s gi, rashguard, rarely do we ever use less than 90% of a death-grip, if we are being honest. This is a lot of stress our fingers and increase the risk of injury of the hand. If you find yourself gripping onto something that isn‘t necessary for your technique, it‘s best to let go and look for a better option. Practicing mindful gripping can help you avoid putting unnecessary strain on your fingers and reduce your risk of injury.

No Death Grips!

This is worth reemphasizing. Do not grip with all of your strength! If your hip and shoulder control of your opponent is good enough, Hulking out with your hands shouldn’t be necessary. You will tire quickly, and since your position is probably bad, you are about to get swept and be on bottom with tired hands. Just let it go!

Treatment

An athlete with his hands in a bucket of ice

For BJJ finger injuries, rest, ice, compression, and splints/braces are the most common treatment methods. Here is a breakdown of each treatment and how to properly use them.

Rest

Rest is the most important part of treating a BJJ finger injury. To give your finger the best chance of healing, it is important to limit the use of the injured finger and avoid any activity that causes pain or discomfort. If possible, it is best to keep the injured finger immobilized with a splint or brace. Once the damaged tissue is healed, you can begin slowly adding resistance training and resume regular BJJ Training.

 

Ice

Applying ice to the injured finger can help reduce inflammation, swelling, and pain. To use ice therapy, wrap a few ice cubes in a clean cloth and apply it to the injured area for 1015 minutes at a time. Be sure to limit exposure to the cold to prevent any further injuries.

Compression

Compression can help reduce swelling and provide support for the injured finger. To use compression, wrap an elastic bandage around the injured finger and then use a splint or brace to keep the bandage in place. Tape can be used in place of an elastic bandage.

Splints and Braces

Splints and braces are a great way to provide support to injured fingers and help them heal. I have had good experiences with splints and braces, as they allow for a gradual return to training and prevent further injury. Splints and braces are available in a variety of sizes, allowing for a customized fit for each individual finger. Additionally, they are generally inexpensive and easy to use, making them an ideal option for treating finger injuries.

Conclusion

a close up photograph of hands with finger tape

In this article, we explored the common types of finger injuries associated with BJJ and what can be done to prevent and treat them. Here is a summary of the key points:

Summary and Final Thoughts

BJJ finger injuries can range from mild to severe, and can be caused by a variety of factors, including overuse, improper technique, and lack of warmup and stretching. Common types of finger injuries include sprains, strains, tendonitis, ligament tears, and fractures.

In conclusion, finger injuries are a common problem for BJJ practitioners and can have a significant impact on their training and performance. Thankfully, there are several steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of finger injuries, such as wearing appropriate protective gear, avoiding overextension of the fingers, and using proper technique. Additionally, if an injury does occur, there are effective treatments that can be used to promote healing and prevent further damage. By taking the necessary precautions, BJJ practitioners can reduce their risk of finger injury and continue to enjoy training.

Leave a Comment