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The 5 Most Common BJJ Injuries: Prevention, Treatment, and Safety

Introduction Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a physically demanding martial art that requires intense training and physical prowess. BJJ practitioners, while...


Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a physically demanding martial art that requires intense training and physical prowess. BJJ practitioners, while gaining valuable skills, often face the challenge of dealing with injuries due to the nature of the sport. In this article, we delve into the five most common BJJ injuries, shedding light on prevention, treatment, and the importance of safety during training.

What is a BJJ Injury?

A BJJ injury refers to any physical damage sustained during training or competition. It encompasses a range of injuries, from mild strains to more severe fractures, and can affect various parts of the body. As BJJ involves intense grappling, joint manipulation, and ground-based techniques, practitioners can experience injuries due to overexertion, improper technique, or unexpected movements.

Are There a Lot of Injuries in BJJ?

The rigorous and competitive nature of BJJ training can indeed lead to injuries. However, injuries shouldn't discourage practitioners from embracing the art. Rather, they should be seen as a reminder of the importance of proper technique, body awareness, and safety measures.

Finger/Hand Injuries

Gripping with Caution

Finger and hand injuries top the list of common BJJ injuries. Gripping the opponent's Gi or limbs with excessive force can strain the fingers and hands. Additionally, being caught in a wrist lock can cause hyperextension, resulting in sprains or fractures.

Knee Injuries

Protecting the Foundation

Knee injuries rank as the second most prevalent BJJ injuries. Quick twists, hyperextensions, awkward landings or getting caught in leg locks can put immense strain on the knee joint. Maintaining proper technique, avoiding dangerous maneuvers such as leg scissor sweeps and being vigilant about tapping out when a submission is locked in can help prevent such injuries.

Shoulder Injuries

Technique Matters

Shoulder injuries rank third on the list of common injuries. Incorrect techniques, like improper break falling, can result in strained shoulders or dislocations. Additionally, submissions that target the shoulders, such as Kimura or Americana, exert significant pressure on the joint. It's important to apply these techniques with caution and tap out promptly if needed. To prevent injuries, it's essential to receive proper instruction and maintain a consistent focus on technique.

Neck Injuries

Guarding the Neck

The fourth prevalent injury in BJJ is related to the neck. Grappling exerts significant pressure on the neck, as it's an effective way to control your opponent using grips. Grips like the collar tie are frequently used in BJJ. Additionally, it's important to remember that every choking technique in BJJ targets the neck, making it a focal point.

Understanding how to safeguard the neck and promptly tapping out when caught in a submission hold can greatly decrease the likelihood of experiencing such injuries.

Back Injuries

Avoiding Overextension

Back injuries round off the top five BJJ injuries. Excessive stacking, where an opponent's weight presses down on the back, or overextension during a backbend can strain the spine and surrounding muscles. Developing flexibility and practicing controlled movements can help mitigate this risk.

Is BJJ a Safe Sport?

While BJJ does carry inherent injury risks, it's important to remember that most injuries can be prevented through proper technique, awareness, and safety precautions. Practicing BJJ in a controlled environment with skilled instructors and using protective gear like mouthguards can significantly enhance safety and minimize the likelihood of injuries.


Prioritizing Injury Prevention

Preventing BJJ injuries starts with adopting a safety-conscious mindset. Here are some key practices:

  • Proper Warm-Up: Begin each session with a thorough warm-up to prepare muscles and joints for training.
  • Technique Mastery: Invest time in learning and mastering proper techniques to reduce the risk of improper movements.
  • Environmental Awareness: Be mindful of your surroundings to avoid collisions or awkward landings.
  • Self-Care: Listen to your body; rest and take breaks when needed to avoid overexertion.
  • Protective Gear: Wear appropriate gear like mouthguards and joint braces to provide an additional layer of protection.


If injury does occur, seeking medical attention promptly is crucial. Depending on the severity of the injury, initial steps might include(RICE):

  • Resting the affected area to allow for healing.
  • Applying Ice to reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Using Compression techniques to stabilize injured joints or muscles.
  • Elevating the injured area to minimize swelling.

In more severe cases, a physical therapist or medical professional may be needed to guide your recovery and rehabilitation.


Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a dynamic and empowering martial art that offers numerous physical and mental benefits. However, it's important to acknowledge the potential for injuries and to prioritize safety during training. By following proper techniques, utilizing protective gears and maintaining awareness of your body's limits, you can minimize the risk of injuries and continue to reap the rewards of this art form. Remember, safety and injury prevention are in your hands, both on and off the mat.

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