Introduction to BJJ Injuries and Physiotherapy
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is 100% a physically demanding martial art. While it offers numerous benefits, it also poses a risk of injury to the practitioner. This guide explains common BJJ injuries and the role of physiotherapy in their management.
Knee Injuries in BJJ and Physiotherapy Intervention
Understanding Knee Injuries in BJJ
Knee injuries, such as ligament tears and patellar tendinitis, are common in BJJ. These injuries often result from the sport’s dynamic movements, dangerous submission attempts as well as an individuals lack of joint awareness resulting in a failure to tap their partner in time. Did we mention ego as well? Yes, unfortunately this is a realilty seen in most BJJ clubs. There are a small percentage of practitioners who do not like to tap simply because of their pride or in particular if their opponent is a lower ranked practitioner. Maybe this can be saved for another post.
The Role of a Physiotherapist in Treating Knee Injuries
A physiotherapist begins their process firstly by assessing the injury in order to arrive at a diagnosis. They must decide whether scans or investigations are warranted, in particular to rule out fracture and major ligament ruptures. Once the physiotherapist has a working diagnosis and treatment is indicated, the first priority will be to alleviate pain and restore movement. Further along, physiotherapy sessions focus on rehabilitation exercises to strengthen the knee and lower limb in general, enhance flexibility, and prevent future injuries.
Shoulder Injuries in BJJ: Physiotherapy Approaches
Identifying Common Shoulder Injuries
BJJ practitioners often face shoulder injuries like rotator cuff tears, AC joint tears, and dislocations due to falls, repetitive movements, aggressive submission attempts and late tapping by a practitioner. In rare cases, fractures may even occur to the shoulder, humerus shaft and the elbow joint.
How Physiotherapy Aids Shoulder Recovery
Initial physiotherapy management aims to assess and diagnose the injury. This is crucial as there are many potential structures that can be damaged. Scans and x-rays may also be warranted depending on the extent of the injury and presentation. Once the physiotherapist is cleared to commence treatment, the first priority is to manage pain, swelling and restoration of movement. As the patient progresses the focus will be on appropriate rehabilitation involving specific exercises to regain shoulder strength, stability and mobility. The physiotherapist will also advise on when and ‘how’ the patient can return back to BJJ training. Typically this may take weeks depending on the injury.
Neck Strains in BJJ and the Importance of Physiotherapy
Types of Neck Injuries in BJJ
Neck strains, sprains, and more serious cervical injuries can occur due to the intense nature of BJJ. In particular, certain techniques involve placing your opponents neck in compromising positions. Not to mention, certain submission techniques like the guillotine, neck crank and various chokes all place strain on the joints, muscles and ligaments of the neck.
Physiotherapy Management for Neck Injuries
Initial physiotherapy management aims to assess and diagnose the injury. This is very important. A comprehensive orthopaedic assessment including nerve testing needs to be performed to rule out any serious spinal disc and nerve damage. Initially, the physiotherapist typically recommends rest and gentle treatments aimed at reducing the patient’s pain and making them more comfortable. A typical treatment may involve massage, manual therapy, traction, dry needling and gentle stretches for the patient to do at home. Progressive physiotherapy includes strengthening and flexibility exercises for the neck and education on proper posture. Again, the physiotherapist will advise on when and ‘how’ the patient can return back to BJJ training. Typically this may take weeks depending on the injury.
Conclusion: The Integral Role of Physiotherapy in BJJ
Like any other sporting group, timely physiotherapy is essential for effectively treating and preventing injuries in BJJ. A skilled physiotherapist not only helps in the recovery from injuries but also educates practitioners on techniques and practices to avoid future injuries, enhancing overall performance in the sport.
Meet Our 2 Resident BJJ Practitioners!
Both Jenny and Kevin W are active practitioners of BJJ and are very passionate about helping their fellow BJJ practitioners bounce back from their injuries.
You can find Jenny and Kevin W at our Bodyfocus Physiotherapy clinic located on Level 8 of the Rhodes Shopping Centre, above the cinemas and foodcourt. Call us on 8732 8888 or simply click on the online booking button to arrange your appointment.