Jiu-Jitsu involves lots of twisting of joints and places pressure on your back and neck. Although Jiu-Jitsu is one of the safest fighting styles, and safer than a lot of traditional sports, it still has its fair share of injuries.
The worst injuries in Jiu-Jitsu are spinal injuries, torn ligaments, broken bones, and dislocated bones.
Spinal injuries involve herniated disks and bulging disks. Broken bones include knees, elbows, ankles, ribs, noses, toes, fingers, forearms, clavicles, and more. Dislocated joints include shoulders, fingers, toes, hips and elbows. Torn ligaments include knee, ankle, shoulder wrist and spine.
Here’s a list collected from fellow rollers of some of their worst injuries. Keep in mind that these are the worst so they are not necessarily common.
A herniated disc in the lower back.
Disks are the squishy part between your spine bones that acts as a cushion. Herniated means there is a tear in the disk exists and some of the discs are getting pushed out of the opening. And can happen from intense twists and turns.
Bulging discs are a more subtle version of herniated discs where the disc is squished but there is no tear.
Your meniscus is between your thigh bone and your shine bone and acts as a shock absorber. It can tear if you quickly twist your knee while applying pressure on it.
Torn ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament)
The ACL helps your knee move back and forward. It is in the front, between the knee cap and the shin bone. The most likely cause of ACL tears in Jiu-Jitsu is caused from the sudden change of direction in the knee.
Torn LCL (Lateral Colateral Ligament)
The LCL helps the knee move left and right. This is caused by the sudden change in direction of the knee.
Torn Iliotibial (IT) Band
Your IT band goes along the side of your legs, from your butt down to the side of the knees. This can often occur when your knee gets twisted abruptly. You will typically feel a tearing sensation by the knee.
The hamstring goes from the bottom of the butt to the back of the knees. This usually happens when your hamstring is stretched out (your leg is fully extended) and you apply sudden pressure to it causing the hamstring to tear.
Concussions are when you get hit in the head really hard, causing the brain to move around or twist in the skull. This can create chemical changes and sometimes damage brain cells. This would most likely occur from being slammed to the ground.
Ripped Rib Cartilage.
Cartilage serves many purposes in the body like acting as a connection between tissue and bone. It is like bone but softer. It’s possible to tear this from intense take-downs almost like a tackle.
A pulled muscle is the same thing as a strain or a tear. The groin muscle goes from your groin to the shin bones. Again this occurs when the muscles are moved too suddenly.
Sprained Elbow Tendons
A sprain is when you stretch or tear ligaments. Ligaments are bands of tissue that connect bones together. This is more common from moves like the armbar.
Dislocated Shoulder Causing Frozen Shoulder
This is when your shoulder bone pops out of the socket in the shoulder blade. Once the should is dislocated it may be more likely for it to happen again.
Torn Ligaments on Shoulder
Ligaments connect bone to other bone. This can happen from armbars and other moves.
Snapped Radius on Forearm
Two bones make up your forearm. The radius is the one closest to the thumb and the ulna is closest to the pinky.
Blown Out Knee
A blown-out knee usually refers to a tear in the LCL(outside of the knee), MCL(inside of the knee), ACL(front of the knee), PCL(back of the knee).
Metatarsals are the long bones in each foot.
This is when one of the bones in your spine slips out of place. Typically happens when you have wear and tear on the bones due to old age or genetics plus sparring.
Hyperextension is when your joint is extended past the normal functioning range. This can potentially cause damage to the ligaments or dislocation.
Comes from a direct hit to the ear causing a blood clot or other fluids to fill the area which then stays in the ear.
3rd Degree Separated Shoulder
3rd-degree separation is when the two main ligaments connecting the arm to the collar bone are completely torn, showing a visible bump on the arm.
Black eyes occur when you get hit on or near the surrounding area causing blood to flow to that area.
Dislocated fingers are usually pretty obvious. Where you can see part of the finger-pointing in the wrong direction.
This is not very common but would possibly happen if you were thrown hard enough on your shoulder.
Most common Injuries
The most common injuries include sprains, strains, and overuse of joints.
Sprains are the overstretching or tearing of ligaments. Ligaments connect bones together and are used for stabilization. Jammed fingers are a type of sprain.
A strain is overstretching or tearing of tendons or muscles. Tendons connect muscle to bone.
Overuse of joints typically leads to injuries such as tendinitis or a stress fracture. This is typically caused by poor training.
How to prevent Jiu-Jitsu Injuries
- Jump Rope
- Don’t spar with people that weigh a lot more than you.
To help ease your worries here is a Jiu-Jitsu injury compilation.
In conclusion, it’s important to stretch. Natural or trained flexibility can be a big advantage because it can lead to a lot fewer injuries and you can get in and out of holds, plus more benefits. Remember to tap instead of trying to be tough. If you can pick up a regular habit of stretching or some kind of yoga.