February 2011

Dealing with common Muay Thai, BJJ and MMA Training Injuries

If you are training seriously in Muay Thai, BJJ, MMA training, or for that matter any physical activity, you will get injured from time to time.

In Muay Thai, BJJ and MMA training the two most common injuries are bruising and strained muscles.

The majority of bruises heal without treatment.

  • You can aid in the reduction of swelling and reduce the amount of pain by applying a cold compress such as ice cubes wrapped in a towel, to the bruise and elevating the injured area.

The faster you get a compress onto the injury, the sooner you'll reduce swelling and pain.

  • Rub a little tincture of arnica or arnica gel onto the bruise. Arnica (Arnica montana) comes from a plant in the daisy family that grows in the Rocky Mountains, and it's wonderful for bruises, sprains, and sore muscles.
  • If you bruise easily, take 200 mg of vitamin C daily.
  • Bilberry extract, which contains powerful antioxidants, may also help reduce or eliminate bruising by stabilizing collagen, increasing intracellular vitamin C levels and strengthening capillaries.
  • For serious bruising or deeper soft-tissue injuries take 200-400 mg of bromelain, a pineapple enzyme that speeds healing, three times a day on an empty stomach (at least 90 minutes before or three hours after eating).

Caution: Seek medical care if you have large and unusually painful bruises or if you begin to bruise easily for no apparent reason.

Strained Muscles:

A muscle strain, also called a pulled muscle, occurs when a muscle is stretched beyond its normal range of motion, and small tears occur within the muscle. Treatment and subsequent recovery requires time.

Recommended Treatment:

  • Rest: Rest is recommended for the early recovery phase, lasting 1 to 5 days depending on the severity of the injury. Immobilization is not usually necessary, and can be potentially harmful to the repair process and outcome.
  • Ice: Ice application should begin as soon as possible after sustaining a pulled muscle. The application of ice is performed in the same manner as for bruising describe above. Ice helps reduce swelling, bleeding, and pain. The applications should be frequent, but each application should be no more than 15 minutes at a time.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Medications: Anti-inflammatory medications, such as Diclofenac, can help reduce swelling and alleviate painful symptoms. Check with your doctor prior to starting these medications.
  • Gentle Stretching: Careful stretching and strengthening are useful in the treatment and prevention of muscle strain injuries. Muscles that are stronger and more flexible are less likely to be injured.
  • Strengthening: After injuring the muscle, it is important to re-strengthen the muscle(s) before returning to athletic activities. Both the injury itself and the down time following the injury can reduce the muscles’ strength. Stronger muscles are less likely to be reinjured
  • Heat Applications: Keep your body and muscles warm; particularly during downtime in an event. If you have time out, warm the muscle and re-stretch before resuming training. In this way you are less likely to sustain a pulled muscle.
  • Avoid Muscle Fatigue: When you become tired you become more susceptible to muscle injury. Muscles that are fatigued are more likely to be injured.
  • Warm-Up Properly: Warming up prior to any physical exertion is extremely important as it will help loosen the muscle and prevent injuries. Launching into a sport with cold, unprepared muscles can result in a higher chance of straining the muscle.

Always exercise caution and prepare yourself properly before any physical pursuit that is going to require a higher than normal performance from your body.

Taking the time to warm up and stretch properly before Muay Thai, BJJ or MMA training will not only increase performance, lead to greater enjoyment of your sport but also help prevent the painful and frustrating down time that results from injuries sustained in your beloved sport.