What are Judo Injuries?
Judo, meaning “the gentle way,” originated in Japan as a physical, mental, and moral discipline. Eventually, it grew into a physical and mental martial art that evolved into an Olympic sport characterized by throws, takedowns, immobilizations, and the art of subduing one’s opponents. The high contact nature and mechanisms of this sport place competitors at pronounced risk for injury even with proper body mechanics.
Types of Judo Injuries
Standing throws are the most common situation where injuries occur. Injuries involving the hand, wrist, and elbow are common due to weight and impact of falls, often resulting in acute trauma. FOOSH injuries are also common since the hand and wrist frequently make contact with the ground.
Injuries to the hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder include:
- Bennett’s fracture: fracture of the base of the first metacarpal bone.
- Boxer’s fracture: a break in the neck of the metacarpal.
- Carpal instability: loss of normal alignment of the carpal bones.
- Extensor carpi ulnaris tendinitis: inflammation of the extensor carpi ulnaris tendon.
- Perilunate dislocation: perilunate fracture dislocations.
- Sagittal band and extensor aponeurosis injuries: traumatic extensor tendon dislocation.
- Elbow fracture: damage to the olecranon or the radius or humeral condyles.
- Interphalangeal joint dislocation: dislocation of the proximal or distal interphalangeal joint.
- Phalangeal fracture: finger fractures/dislocations.
Characteristics and Clinical Presentation of Judo Injuries
Pain, swelling, and bruising are common in the affected area. Additional pain is reported when lifting, twisting, or otherwise gripping with the affected region. This may result in loss of mobility and hand function. Objects may be difficult to lift or operate.
Symptoms may include:
- Decreased range of motion
Causes of Judo Injuries Injuries
Because Judo is a high contact physical sport, injuries are commonly sustained from physical contact or standing throw maneuvers. Improper body mechanics while utilizing standing throw maneuvers are also common. Athletes may also injure themselves by falling with an outstretched hand. Common causes of injury include:
- Acute trauma
- Improper body mechanics
- Straining the body in awkward positions
Getting a Diagnosis for Judo Injuries
Most injuries are easily distinguishable due to swelling, deformity to the region, contusions, or being in an incorrect anatomical position. X-rays may be required to determine the severity of injury to the bony structures of the hand, wrist, and forearm. Additionally, patients with suspected ligamentous injury should receive an MRI to visualize damage in the soft tissue of the arm.
If you experience pain following an injury while competing, you should seek immediate medical intervention in order to receive the best possible prognosis.
Treatment Options for Judo Injuries
Treatments range from sling immobilization to complex reconstructive surgery of the bones and ligaments. Subsequent physical therapy is essential for restoring mobility and range of motion in affected regions of the body. Some less serious injuries may benefit from a period of immobilization and corticosteroid injection to relieve swelling and inflammation.
Most injuries are easily distinguishable due to swelling, deformity to the region, contusions, or being in an incorrect anatomical position. X-rays may be required to determine the severity of injury to bones or ligaments. Conservative treatments are always the first choice if at all possible.
Common injuries sustained include fractures and dislocations to joints in the hands, the elbow, and the shoulder. Supporting ligaments may be torn, requiring splitting and surgical repair in some cases.
Your surgeon will recommend the need for surgery over conservative treatments if an acute injury is severe or a chronic injury has not responded well to conservative methods.
Preventing an Injury while Practicing Judo
Maintaining correct body form while performing standing throw maneuvers, physical contact, and landings are essential to preventing injury while practicing Judo. Proper use of disarming and throwing techniques can aid in preventing chronic or acute injuries by maintaining proper form.
Consult with a physical therapist following an injury on which maneuvers to modify or avoid if required.
Prognosis for Judo Injuries
Simple fractures in which the broken piece hasn’t moved are well treated in a splint or cast. Surgical intervention may require a recovery time of several months in some cases.
Physical therapy is recommended in order to maximize hand and arm function. Range of motion may be affected in chronic injuries that do not receive timely treatment or physical therapy.
If You Believe You Have a Judo Injury Contact HandSport Surgery Institute
Please contact us as soon as possible to schedule an appointment with our talented team. People experiencing Judo Injuries should be evaluated to try and prevent further injury and mobility issues.
If you have been injured, it’s important to be evaluated by a highly skilled professional. Call Drs. Mark and Jason Pruzansky at 212-249-8700 to schedule an appointment and obtain an accurate diagnosis.