Preventing and Treating Hand Injuries in MMA

Jan 19, 2023MMA

At Apex MMA, our goal is to help minimize injuries and keep all our members and coaches safe. This involves ongoing education on injury prevention, recognition, and proper treatment. The hands are vital yet vulnerable weapons for any MMA fighter. This article covers common hand injuries and how to protect your fists of fury.

The hand contains many small bones and joints that must withstand substantial impact during punching and grappling. Hand injuries are very common in MMA and have the potential to sideline a fighter if not properly treated. Learning prevention as well as having an expert evaluate and treat any hand injuries, helps get fighters back to full function quickly.

Boxer’s Fracture

The metacarpal bones behind the knuckles frequently break on impact with a hard opponent or object. These fractures are termed “boxer’s fractures” due to their prevalence in that sport. They cause pain, swelling, and angulation of the finger.

Mechanism: A direct blow to a clenched fist crushes the vulnerable metacarpal bone behind the knuckle.

Risk Factors: Improperly taped hands, poor punching technique, inadequate conditioning.

Prevention: Wear quality gloves with proper hand wrapping technique for dispersing forces. Punch correctly using the index and middle knuckles aligned for impact. Strengthen hands and wrists with targeted exercises to increase durability.

Treatment: See a doctor promptly to re-align any crooked fingers after injury. Use buddy taping to adjacent fingers or splinting during recovery to protect healing. Physical therapy restores mobility, strength, and function.

Finger Dislocations

Fingers can dislocate at the knuckles or at the middle and end joints. Grappling in MMA risks having fingers caught and bent back into abnormal positions. Dislocations often require timely reduction by a medical professional to avoid residual defects in motion or alignment.

Mechanism: Hyperextension of finger joints from direct force or getting digits caught in awkward positions.

Prevention: Tape fingers together for support. Wear gloves during grappling. Strengthen hands and improve dexterity. Avoid overextending fingers into vulnerable positions.

Treatment: Promptly see a doctor to reduce dislocations, especially if complex injuries are suspected. Splinting protects healing ligaments and tendons. Early gentle motion prevents stiffness down the road.

Ligament and Tendon Injuries

Abruptly jamming or loading the hand can rupture ligaments and tendons leading to pain, finger instability, and reduced functioning. Common traumatic injuries include “boxer’s knuckle” and “jersey finger.” These often warrant splinting or even surgical repair followed by rehabilitation.

Mechanism: Sudden hyperextension or acute compression overwhelms connective tissue tensile strength.

Prevention: Strengthen hands and improve dynamic flexor dexterity. Wrap hands tightly with gauze and tape to structurally support joints. Avoid jamming hand forcefully into opponent’s gloves on impact.

Treatment: Immobilize with buddy tape or splinting, especially if joints feel unstable. Surgery may be required for repairs followed by gentle, progressive rehabilitation. Physical therapy aims to restore strength and mobility.

Preventing Hand Injuries

Key tips to protect hands from injury:

  • Conditioning exercises using grippers or wrist rollers
  • Hit focus mitts for proper punching technique
  • Always wrap hands well before striking or grappling
  • Wear appropriate gloves for the type of training
  • Tape fingers together for added support
  • Avoid punching heavier bags or post without gloves
  • Ice regularly after impact activities

Safeguarding the hands and getting prompt medical treatment when necessary helps MMA fighters continue effectively using their fists of fury against opponents for years to come. Here at Apex MMA we aim to keep our members punching pads and opponents for countless rounds in the future.

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Team Apex MMA Martial Arts Coach
Apex MMA is a specialist mixed martial arts gym focusing on Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Led by an experienced team of instructors, Apex MMA offers comprehensive training programs for students of all ages and skill levels. With Apex MMA's systematic teaching methods, passion for martial arts, and strong community relationships, you will gain the tools to succeed in the gym and beyond.
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