Common BJJ Injuries: A Comprehensive Guide

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a famous martial art that demands physical contact and may result in injury if not practiced appropriately.

Joint sprains, muscle strains, contusions, concussions, and spinal injuries to practitioners’ knees, shoulders, back, and fingers are common injuries in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

This post will examine the most frequent BJJ injuries, their causes, and how to avoid them. Stay tuned!

What Are the Most Common BJJ Injuries?

Brazilian jiu-jitsu training, like any other physical activity, has the danger of injury. The following are some of the most prevalent injuries in BJJ.

Knee Injuries

Knee injuries are most common in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Leg takedowns, Leglocks, and sweeps may cause these sorts of damages. Indeed, you should be aware of two knee injuries: muscle and ligament injuries.

Muscular injuries often occur when you hit the mat too hard or get bruised during a bout. They may be unpleasant, but they usually heal fast.

Ligament injuries, on the other hand, are significantly more severe. These occur when your knee is hyperextended, and more pressure is applied to the joint.

If you rupture a ligament partly, it may still be able to recover with rest. But, if the rip is large enough, surgery will most likely be required to restore the damage. This may result in months, if not years, of therapy.

Hence, if you do BJJ, you must be aware of your knees and take steps to prevent injury. Keep rolling safely, and have fun!

Related: Use our top-rated Brazilian jiu-jitsu knee pads to protect your knees while rolling. They provide your joints with defense and safeguard them from damage, decreasing the probability of knee trauma, and alleviating pain. Click here to read more!

Lower Back Injuries

The lower back is a critical region that allows you to move, twist, bend, and perform various physical tasks. Yet, it is also one of the most susceptible places, particularly for BJJ fighters.

The most prevalent causes of lower back injuries are shallow stacking, spinal twists, and hyperextension during back mount.

Lower back injuries are quite prevalent in BJJ. Athletes depend extensively on their pelvic muscles, particularly in full guard. If someone bigger than them oddly presses their body while in this posture, it is pretty easy to tear a muscle in the lower back or even slide a disc in the spine.

Thus, looking after your lower back is critical whether you’re a BJJ fighter or simply like physical exercise. Maintain awareness of your movements and methods, and constantly watch your body’s cues. After all, a solid and elegant body needs a healthy lower back!

Neck Injuries

Unfortunately, neck injuries are all too prevalent in BJJ grapping. Several circumstances can cause injuries to a grappler’s neck, including deep stacking, can opener holds, neck cranks, and even head posting.

When a fighter is deep stacked or trying to break free from a headlock, their neck may be placed under a lot of stress, leading to damage. Posting with the head is another primary reason since fighters employ it to prevent being rolled, but it may also cause neck strain and injury.

Whenever an accident occurs, it is critical to identify the severity of the damage as soon as feasible. For example, if the ailment makes turning the neck difficult, it is most likely muscular damage.

Nevertheless, tingling or shooting feelings down the arm and into the fingers might indicate nerve damage.

Nerve pain should be taken carefully since it may be significantly more severe than muscle pain. Anybody experiencing these symptoms should quit sparring immediately and seek medical assistance. Don’t risk further injury by ignoring the warning signs.

Shoulder Injuries

Let’s discuss the risks of shoulder injuries for jiu-jitsu fighters. These damages are prevalent and may be caused by bad takedowns falling, armlocks, shoulder locks, etc.

Indeed, one of the most common causes of shoulder injuries in fighters is a failure to maintain their elbows tight to their bodies.

When their elbows are left hanging freely at their sides, they are exposed to an armed assault. And if the fighter attempts to resist, they may put much pressure on their shoulder, perhaps causing harm.

Your shoulder is a ball and socket joint that relies on a complex network of stabilizing muscles and ligaments to operate correctly. When one of these muscles or ligaments is injured, it may cause shoulder pain and stiffness.

And if one of these muscles or ligaments is damaged, the injury may be severe, mainly if it is a complete tear.

Thus, whether you’re a fighter or participate in activities that might cause strain on your shoulders, it’s critical to be aware of how you’re moving and to take precautions to avoid damage.

Finger Injuries

Although knee injuries are the most frequent in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, finger injuries are also widespread. They are so common in BJJ that they’re dubbed “BJJ fingers” or “grappler’s hands.”

These injuries may be caused by many circumstances, including too tight holding your opponent, having your fingers trapped in their gi or clothes, or simply twisting or jamming your fingers during a roll.

Sprains, strains, and fractures are BJJ’s most prevalent forms of finger injuries.

Although finger injuries are rarely as catastrophic as knee injuries, they may be very painful and incapacitating. Surgery or extensive rest may be required to recover correctly in certain circumstances.

To avoid finger injuries in BJJ, it is critical to concentrate on appropriate technique and grip strength. This includes gripping your opponent with your full hand rather than just your fingers, warming up, and stretching your hands and fingers before each roll.

Using finger tape or finger sleeves may also aid in supporting and protecting your fingertips during training. By adopting these precautions, you may lower your chance of finger injury and continue rolling safely and confidently.

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Ear Injuries

The cauliflower ear is a frequent disease affecting many BJJ fighters, wrestlers, and boxers. But don’t worry. There are techniques to keep it under control while enjoying your grappling sessions.

Cauliflower ear occurs when someone destroys the cartilage in their ear, which may happen by repeatedly smashing it against an opponent while stacking.

This causes blood to rush into the ear, and if not adequately drained, the blood hardens, giving the ear an unattractive cauliflower look.

It may not be noticed at first, just a little lump, but if left untreated, it may develop into a horrible, alien callus on your ear. Hence, if you want to prevent severe cauliflower ear, you have to follow strict treatment.

Finally, attempt to be less aggressive while sparring if everything else fails. Avoiding damage completely rather than coping with the effects afterward is preferable.

Types of Injuries in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

One research conducted in 2019 in Ontario, Canada, examined 70 BJJ practitioners, most of whom had white belt or blue belt. According to the findings, 64% of those polled reported injuries during training, whereas 21% reported injuries during competition.

Sprains and strains were the most prevalent injuries, followed by fractures, lacerations, dislocations, and concussions.

A sprain occurs when the ligaments that link your bones are strained or torn. However, a strain occurs when your finger muscles or tendons are overused or injured. Otherwise, Fractures, on the other hand, occur when one or more of your fingers’ bones break.

Since respondents might report several injuries, the percentages show how many people had each kind of injury rather than the overall number of injuries in each category.

Moreover, a more recent poll in Brazil in 2021 and concentrating exclusively on orthopedic injuries, found that 85% of 94 respondents had had an orthopedic injury over the previous two years.

The fingers, shoulders, and knees were the most often damaged locations, followed by the ankle, elbow, and lumbar spine.

Considering the significant number of injuries recorded in both polls, it’s worth noting that more severe injuries are less common in BJJ. Consequently, although sprains and strains are frequent, more severe injuries are rare.

Overall, these studies give essential information into the sorts of injuries that BJJ athletes may suffer and may assist practitioners in avoiding injury and encouraging safe training techniques.

Related: Elbow injuries are so repetitive in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Discover the origins, symptoms, and treatment of elbow discomfort in BJJ. Click here to learn more!

Common Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Injuries Causes

Even though Brazilian jiu-jitsu has strict rules and regulations to protect practitioners, accidents and injuries occur during regular training sessions and competitions.

The following are some of the most prevalent causes of injuries in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

  • Overtraining: Excessive or rigorous practice may result in overuse ailments such as tendinitis, sprains, and strains.
  • Poor technique: Doing techniques incorrectly or without perfect form may sometimes result in injuries. For example, shooting a single leg takedown without reasonable weight control and techniques understanding may provoke a knee injury.
  • Inadequate physical fitness: Physical conditioning might render practitioners more prone to injury, particularly in the muscles and joints utilized in grappling and ground combat.
  • Inadequate warm-up: Failure to warm up correctly before training or competition increases the chance of muscle strains, joint sprains, and other injuries.
  • Random Accidents: Accidents may occur while training, such as falling awkwardly or being accidentally hit by a partner, resulting in bruises, cuts, and other injuries.
  • Age: Older practitioners may be more vulnerable to injury due to age-related physical changes such as diminished flexibility and joint mobility.
  • Ego: Practitioners’ egos may cause them to injure themselves by overestimating themselves, not taping out at the appropriate time, and so on.


Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is an exciting and fulfilling martial art, but it is not without danger. Joint sprains, muscular strains, contusions, concussions, and spinal injuries are all too prevalent among this sport’s participants.

Although specific injuries may be less severe than others, it is critical to treat all injuries carefully and promptly.

However, you may reduce your chance of injury and enjoy everything this beautiful combat sport offers by taking basic measures such as warming up, stretching, and wearing protective gear.

Overall, if you’re considering learning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, go for it! But remember to train wisely, be safe, and have fun. You can prevent injuries and get the most out of your BJJ adventure if you have the appropriate mentality and approach.

Related: Are you ready to advance your Jiu-Jitsu training? Make sure you have the necessary equipment to succeed. Learn about the finest BJJ equipment you’ll need to better your talents and reach your grappling objectives. Click here to learn more!


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