BJJ common injuries come in all shapes and sizes. Some are bacterial and not as serious but some can be real lingering pains that you have to constantly measure. Cauliflower ear is probably one of the least serious but most common injuries someone will experience when training BJJ. There are many ways to treat the injury and many prevent this from happening in the first place, let’s dive into it!
Common BJJ Injuries: What Is Cauliflower Ear?
People who come from sports, such as , boxing, or mixed martial arts have this pretty commonly. Truthfully, it’s not as gross as it looks. When any tissue gets damaged in the body the first thing it does is swell up. Some people may get turned off when they initially see it but if you get it in the martial arts world, it is a badge of honor. We personally know a lot of wrestlers and BJJ addicts that wear their cauliflower ears proudly.
The simple answer to this is by not wearing lol. The ear deformity is one of the most common BJJ injuries that almost all grapplers at high levels experience and/or have.
You can get cauliflower ear in BJJ by someones Gi rubbing against your ear too hard or by someone accidentally hitting your head/ear area when going for a collar tie.
When cauliflower ear starts to come in you will be able to feel it. Your ears will be pretty sore for days on end and end up being sensitive to touch. When people continue to touch or damage the ear while in this stage the deformity can worsen so be careful (as much as you can be).
The easiest way to prevent cauliflower ear is by wearing while training. Headgear can be uncomfortable around the neck area at first but if you do not want your ear to look mangled it will have to be the sacrifice you make.
Here is a quick list of some ways to prevent Cauliflower Ear
Don’t train (Why are you here)
When you get sore ears ice them
Take a break if your ears start to get sore
(Bonus) If you get the deformity, drain it, and use magnets (Or EarSplintz)
We do not believe having cauliflower ear is a big deal but that does not mean other people won’t. If you are going to train to be a badass really just kick other people’s opinions to the curb and do what you think is best.
How to Properly Drain Cauliflower Ear
it is important to note that the bruising and swelling of the ear that causes blood to rush to the damaged cartilage is known as a hematoma, the blood from the hematoma can be drained if the swelling is large enough. Cauliflower ear is the deformed cartilage left over after the swelling goes away, that can only be surgically fixed but in most cases is not even necessary.
The draining of the blood from your hematoma can be done with a clean syringe. The ear can become extremely painful to touch so have a medical professional or someone that knows what they are doing help you with the injury. It is not advised to do it on your own.
The most common injuries in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is a martial art where injury risk can be high. The most common injuries someone can experience while training are some of the following:
Soft tissue injuries
Joint injuries or dysfunction
Neck or wrist injuries
Lower back pain
The popularity of martial arts is rising every day. Research has shown that there is a huge emphasis on BJJ practitioners taking their injury prevention methods seriously. It is not very common for someone to not experience one of the listed injuries in their time of training Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Serious injury can occur if someone lets their ego get in the way or if they sit in submissions for too long without properly tapping out.
BJJ injuries compared to other martial arts: which martial art has the most injuries?
Injuries fro martial art to martial art vary in many ways so it is hard to say which art has the most injuries occur. In any sport, you are running risk when you put your body on the line. Brazilian jiu-jitsu training is not easy and from what we have seen most common injuries start in the training sessions. Picking good training partners is a great way to stay away from being injured.
Competition BJJ athletes run an even higher risk of getting hurt because they are going full speed against an opponent that is out to submit them. Injuries in Brazilian jiu-jitsu are not fun to deal with, typically the healing process is long and takes away from your training time. If you do find yourself injured from training it is advised to take some time to relax and not aggravate minor strains. The last thing you want to do is increase the injury rate and spend more time sidelined.
There are certain body parts that you must be more cautious about than others and I believe he neck, back, and knees are just those.
Having any kind of serious injury to the neck or spine can put you out of commission for a very long time so if something feels off you must seek medical care. Damaging the neck bad enough could lead to permanent damage that cannot be reversed.
Injuries to ligaments, tendons, or nerves
These are probably the most painful of all injuries because you feel sharp pain with every movement. We know this from first-hand experience when we hurt out knees in a live rolling session. If the pain is unbearable, medical treatment is advised. Please see a doctor if there is excessive swelling, bruising, or damage to a particular region of the body.
The Lower Back
Rener Gracie has found lower spine pain injuries to be the most prevalent injury on the BJJ. If you are much bigger than your body and push the body into awkward positions, it is quite easy to pull muscle down the back or to lose a disc in your spine.
Being a BJJ fighter opens you up to a world where the injury frequency may be more than you originally expect if you do not take care of your body in the right way.
How common are knee injuries in BJJ?
Knee injuries are probably some of the more common injuries people will experience in BJJ next to the shoulder. Wearing protective knee braces or sleeves is what we do and it provides us with the stability we need to all out in our rolling sessions.
If you are looking for a great recommendation for protective knee gear, we could not recommend Anaconda Fightwear enough. The design of the knee sleeve is cool and the stability we got from wearing it was like no other knee sleeve we have worn. We have been using knee sleeves for years because we have a jacked-up right knee but rolling around with this one made us feel very comfortable.
The only downside is that the velcro wears off fast, so it may be smart to buy two at a time.
How to treat a BJJ injury for the quickest recovery
Injuries are common for Brazilian Jiu-jitsu athletes. You may not be able to completely avoid them but there are ways to treat them and do your best so we can prevent serious injuries from creeping in.
Tips To Stay Healthy:
Cold Plunge often to help your joints and muscles recover faster
Spend time in the sauna
Do yoga to build up your flexibility
Properly supplement your body
Use CBD to help with any minor strains, aches, or pains that pop up along the way
What causes more injuries: training or competition?
This is hard to say.
If you have sparring partners that are a bit more spazzy than they need to be, you could find yourself getting injured in training. It is common for BJJ practitioners to avoid these types of people in the gym or for those individuals to be called out by the advantaged athletes on the mats. Risk factors for injury in BJJ are already high, the last thing people want to do is get hurt while there are zero stakes on the line.
With that being said it can be very common to experience an injury when you step into the realm of competition.
Risk Factors Related to Belt Rank, Training, and Competition Behavior
Most people would think that the longer you have trained the more likely it is you get hurt but it is actually the opposite. It has been found that training experience and the amount of time spent training overall have no correlation to injury frequency. Inexperience has been known to lead to more injuries in novice athletes do to the inability to tap out fast enough or letting ego get in the way.
Sometimes in sparring sessions, two people are paired up that have massive size differences and it is important to note that communication between partners while training is a necessity in these cases.
Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is not a martial art or sport for the weak. You will put your body at risk when training, it is just the nature of the game. Injuries in Brazilian jiu-jitsu can be completely avoided by taking the necessary precautions that help prevent injuries from happening in the first place.