Dr. Mark E. Pruzansky
Dr. Jason S. Pruzansky
975 Park Avenue New York, NY 10028

Jiu Jitsu Injuries

What are Jiu Jitsu Injuries?

Jujitsu, the Japanese martial art, has a high risk for many injuries. Originally developed in the Sengoku period, Jujitsu combined various Japanese martial arts to be used on the battlefield for close combat in situations where weapons were ineffective. Jujitsu is the martial art of close combat for defeating armed opponents where the athlete may or may not use a short weapon.

If you find yourself injured from Jujitsu, choose HandSport Surgery Institute, the premier practice for hand and upper extremity surgery, and the treatment of sports injuries.

Types of Jiu Jitsu Injuries

Because martial arts utilize similar muscle groups in the body, the injuries athletes sustain from them tend to be similar in nature. With a combination of throwing, tripping, joint locks, holds, and gouges, athletes may sustain damage to the hand, wrist, forearm, or elbow. Fractures and dislocation remain the most common kind of injuries sustained while engaging in Jujitsu.

Common Jiu Jitsu injuries to the arm include:

Characteristics and Clinical Presentation of Jiu Jitsu Injuries

Injuries sustained while practicing Jiu Jitsu may present as pain, and swelling. Bruising is common in the affected area. Additional pain is often reported when lifting, twisting, or otherwise gripping with the affected hand. Athletes who experience acute pain following practice, sparring, or a competition should seek immediate medical supervision.

The most common symptoms of Jiu Jitsu injuries include:

  • Swelling
  • Stiffness
  • Weakness
  • Decreased range of motion

Causes of Jiu Jitsu Injuries

Athletes may sustain contusions and tearing of ligamentous tissue during Jujitsu from maneuvers requiring throwing, joint locks, holds, and gouges. This has the potential to result in chronic pain and inability to properly operate the affected region.

These types of injuries are common to contact sports when the structures within the arm  absorb impact or abrupt physical contact from external forces. While many injuries are a result of acute physical trauma, many can be sustained due to long-term overuse.

Getting a Diagnosis for Jiu Jitsu Injuries

Patients will undergo a physical examination of the affected region to locate pain and tenderness at the site of injury. X-rays are useful for providing imagery of the complex skeletal structures of the hand, wrist, and elbow, which can aid in providing a definitive diagnosis.

An MRI or a CT scan may be ordered to evaluate complex multi-fragment fractures or providing imagery of ligamentous tissue.

Treatment Options for Jiu Jitsu Injuries

Athletes who sustain damage to their arm during Jiu Jitsu practice or matches may benefit from conservative treatment. These include a period of immobilization and anti-inflammatory medications. Certain injuries may also benefit from a corticosteroid injection to relieve pain, discomfort, and swelling.

After receiving clearance from a hand surgeon, patients may rest the affected area by applying P.R.I.C.E principles:

  • Protect: the injured area should be protected with a splint or buddy-taping or best choice of the hand surgeon.
  • Rest: the injured region should be allowed to rest.
  • Ice: use a cool pack or ice bag to reduce swelling and pain.
  • Compression: judicious use of wrapping the area with a bandage limit the amount of swelling that can occur.
  • Elevate: elevating the region also helps control swelling by using gravity to limit and reduce the amount of fluid that goes to the affected area.

Conservative Treatments

Some Jiu Jitsu injuries may be treated with immobilization with a splint or a cast because immobilization helps the body to repair itself. Your surgeon may recommend a corticosteroid injection and NSAIDs in conjunction with rest to promote healing. Corticosteroids are useful in providing immediate pain relief in some cases of pain and swelling in the affected region. Athletes should stop competing during this time to promote healing.

These, when combined with rest, can promote healing in less serious Jiu Jitsu injuries.

Surgical Treatments

Some serious Jiu Jitsu injuries may require surgical intervention. In the case of torn ligamentous tissues or improperly aligned fractures, surgery is the only option for repairing these structures. In ligamentous tissue where there isn’t enough healthy tissue to reconnect, a tendon graft from another part of the body may be necessary. In some chronic injuries resulting from overuse, scar tissue may need to be removed via arthroscopic surgery.

Preventing an Injury while Practicing Jiu Jitsu

Resting between competitions and after practice can improve chronic injuries and prevent future accidents. Additionally, athletes should take care to employ proper body mechanics, modification of certain maneuvers, and the use of well-fitted safety gear. Allowing the body to rest between competitions is crucial to promote healing. Use tapping early.

Some options include:

  • Getting a physical exam before participating.
  • Practice under direct supervision from an experienced teacher.
  • Proper warm-up and cool-down routines.
  • Early tapping.

Prognosis for Jiu Jitsu Injuries

Jiu Jitsu injuries that can be treated with brief  immobilization and rest are the simple types. Patients who require surgical intervention may require longer immobilization and specialized supervision during rehab and return to sport.

Physical therapy may be required for an additional 2-4 months depending on the severity of the injury.

Depending on the type and severity of the injury, people who practice Jiu Jitsu can usually expect to return to normal activity following their healing period. However, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible after receiving a Jiu Jitsu injury to try to gain the best possible outcome.

If You Believe You Have a Jiu Jitsu Injury Contact HandSport Surgery Institute

Please contact us as soon as possible to schedule an appointment with our talented team. People experiencing Jiu Jitsu 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 hand surgeon. Call Drs. Mark and Jason Pruzansky at 212-249-8700 to schedule an appointment and obtain an accurate diagnosis.