What are Mixed Martial Arts Injuries?
Mixed martial arts is a high-contact, intense physical activity. This sport varies in technique, regulation, equipment, and intensity. Because of this, martial art participation has the potential to cause a wide range of injuries.
Mixed martial arts athletes will commonly sustain sprains, strains, and contusions. However, broken and dislocated bones in the wrist, hand, and elbow are also common, as these areas are especially vulnerable during this sport.
If you find yourself injured, choose HandSport Surgery Institute, the premier practice for hand and upper extremity surgery and the treatment of fighting injuries.
Types of Mixed Martial Arts Injuries
Because mixed martial arts utilize the hand during striking and chopping maneuvers, it has the potential to absorb acute physical trauma, which can jeopardize the ligamentous and bony tissues.
Cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and neurologic problems should be thoroughly evaluated by a healthcare professional.
Common injuries to the arm 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.
- Distal radius fracture: a break of the distal part of the radius bone.
- 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, radius and humerus.
- Metacarpholangeal joint dislocation: dorsal metacarpophalangeal joint dislocation.
- Interphalangeal joint dislocation: dislocation of the IP joints.
- Phalangeal fracture: finger fractures/dislocations.
Characteristics and Clinical Presentation of Mixed Martial Arts Injuries
Injuries may be sustained from mixed martial arts at any time during practice and competitions. Pain, bruising, and swelling are common in the affected area. Athletes who experience pain following activity in mixed martial arts should seek immediate medical attention. Additionally, if you have noticed a pattern of long-term pain, you should consult an experienced hand surgeon.
Some of the most common symptoms of mixed martial arts injuries include:
- Decreased range of motion
Causes of Mixed Martial Arts Injuries
Many athletes have the potential to be injured over the course of their career. These injuries are most commonly sustained from acute physical trauma while utilizing blocking techniques, or from the structures of the arm absorbing abrupt physical contact. Athletes may also injure themselves by falling on an outstretched hand.
Common causes of mixed martial arts injuries include:
- Acute trauma
- Improper body mechanics
- Straining the arm in extreme positions
Getting a Diagnosis for Mixed Martial Arts 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 bones or ligaments. MRIs can assist in visualizing the extent of damage to soft tissue.
If you experiencing pain following an injury while competing, you should seek immediate medical intervention from a medical professional. Doing so is crucial in order to receive the best possible prognosis.
Treatment Options for Mixed Martial Arts Injuries
Many athletes who sustain injuries while practicing mixed martial arts can be treated with conservative methods. However, all injuries must be evaluated by an experienced hand surgeon in order to obtain an accurate diagnosis. An accurate diagnosis has the potential for an optimal prognosis alongside physical therapy.
Additionally, athletes can treat an injured region of the arm with the P.R.I.C.E method after being cleared by their surgeon:
- Protect: the injured area should be protected with a splint or buddy-taping, supervised by your 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: wrapping prudently the area with a bandage may limit the amount of swelling that can occur.
- Elevate: elevating the region also helps control swelling by using gravity to reduce the amount of fluid that goes to the affected area.
Simple injuries may receive splinting or, in some injuries, rest. Fingers may be buddy-taped to promote healing during the immobilization stage. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories may be useful in reducing painful swelling and inflammation.
Some patients may benefit from a corticosteroid injection to relieve severe pain in the affected region.
Severe injuries may require surgery to repair damaged tendons, ligaments, bones or sheaths. The treatment of the affected region depends on the severity and duration of the condition. Repair of the affected region is often aided with physical therapy.
Prior to surgery your surgeon will discuss the reasons and options for your plan of care. Your questions will be addressed as well as your concerns. Your ADL including your professional and avocational requirements and goals will be addressed.
Preventing an Injury while Practicing Mixed Martial Arts
Maintaining proper body form while performing mixed martial arts maneuvers and physical contact are essential in reducing injury. Athletes should utilize proper body mechanics, striking techniques, and modify any maneuvers which cause stress or harm to specific regions of their body, particularly those that have had prior injuries.
Athletes should observe some basic principles when practicing mixed martial arts:
- Physical examination before sports activities.
- Maintain fitness throughout career.
- Warm up before practicing.
- Hydrate before, during, and after practice.
Prognosis for Mixed Martial Arts
Patients may require surgical intervention with serious injuries such as fractures. Simple fractures may be treated with immobilization techniques. Surgical intervention may require a more complex postoperative plan.
HandSport Institute surgeons often advises physical therapy in order to maximize proper hand and arm mechanics. If a patient doesn’t get medical attention as soon as possible following an injury, they may experience reduced range of motion and further complications in the future.
If You Believe You Have a Mixed Martial Arts Injury Contact HandSport Surgery Institute
Please contact us as soon as possible to schedule an appointment with our talented team. People experiencing mixed martial arts injuries should be evaluated to try and reduce 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, obtain an accurate diagnosis, and start to restore comfort to your hand.