A sports injury is an injury that is typical of a certain sport based on the frequency and mode of its occurrence. As a result, physicians, professionals and participants must be aware of the sports injuries associated with their chosen sport and learn how to prevent, identify and treat them once they occur.
Martial Arts training and practice are very physical- even more so once you graduate from learning to practising. Therefore, all participants, beginners or professionals, are at risk of injuries associated with the sport, whether during practice or competition.
It is, therefore, highly prudent and beneficial for all participants to be aware of the most common injuries sustained in Martial Arts practice. Moreover, you have to familiarise yourself with the most effective precautions to take in order to avoid sustaining these injuries. Doing so before participating in training or practice sessions will only benefit you in the long run.
The term Martial Arts is a collective descriptor of numerous fighting disciplines. Therefore, as the injury type often depends on the type of martial art you perform, the number of injuries you are likely to encounter is equally varied. Identifying and knowing how to avoid the most common martial arts injuries also means classifying the disciplines into two main categories:
- Non-contact Martial Arts- injuries from disciplines in this category include fatigue and overuse types.
- Contact Martial Arts- whose injury occurrence rates and types vary depending on protective equipment and techniques in use.
WHAT ARE COMMON MARTIAL ARTS INJURIES?
- Muscle Strains
Ligament or muscle overuse can lead to tearing. The most common muscle strain injury is planta fasciitis due to overstretching or bruising the sole of the foot (the plantar fascia ligament).
- Skin Damage
It isn’t uncommon to get bruises and minor cuts while training and practising. However, with cuts, preventing skin infections is crucial. Therefore, always having a health care professional’s input in treating and caring for injuries that result in skin damage is best.
Martial Arts disciplines that focus on throwing and striking present a higher likelihood of concussions. Consequently, being able to identify the symptoms of concussions, including nausea, dizziness, confusion, headache, difficulties concentrating, balance issues, and even problems with memory, is critical.
- Neck Injuries
It is common to sustain minor injuries like bruising and abrasions to the neck. However, some disciplines like MMA and Jiu Jitsu allow choking techniques that may result in loss of consciousness. Therefore, beyond being aware of these injuries, having proper supervision is crucial.
- Dislocations or Fractures –
In Martial Arts, bone dislocations are more common than breakages. Participants commonly dislocate their hands or toes. On the other hand, nose, eye, face, teeth, skull or mouth fractures are typical results.
TIPS TO PREVENT MARTIAL ARTS INJURIES
Use the right equipment.
Numerous pieces of safety equipment are available for use while training or participating in Martial Arts. They include chest protectors, mouthguards, headgear and paddings. It is essential to put all of them on before each session.
Please note that the equipment’s proper fit and suitability for a particular discipline are also vital.
Warm-up and Cool-down!
Make sure you warm up before engaging your muscles in any heavy activity. Lacking adequate preparation may heighten the strain on your body and increase the risk of sustaining an injury during the session.
An ample cool-down session once practice is complete helps round off your time on the mat by releasing the strain on your muscles. Consequently, it is best to include a cool-down in every training plan.
Ask for direct supervision from your instructor.
Your Martial Arts instructor has the knowledge and expertise to guide you through executing the various movements and styles associated with your discipline. They will also help you work within your capabilities as they instruct you on the proper techniques. Therefore, it is important to inform them of any past injuries or weaknesses so that they can provide workable alternatives.
Always retain your focus. If you are training while distracted, it is easy to position your body improperly or get injured by your training partner/ opponent.
Seek training only from highly skilled professionals.
A skilled professional Martial Arts instructor will help you get the most out of your training while teaching you how to avoid injuries and costly mistakes.