Preventing and Treating Skin Infections in MMA

Jan 22, 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. Besides acute traumatic injuries, infections represent one of the most common medical issues that can sideline MMA fighters. Various bacterial, viral, and fungal infections spread quickly in combat sports due to close contact. Proper hygiene, gear sanitation, and wound care are vital for prevention and rapid treatment.

Bacterial Infections

Staph and impetigo are two of the most common bacterial skin infections seen in MMA. They often start as a small red bump or pustule resembling a pimple or ingrown hair. However, they can rapidly expand, becoming boggy, swollen, and painful. Yellowish or bloody discharge is typical. More extensive infections require antibiotic treatment.

Causes: Staph bacteria naturally live on the skin but can cause infection when entering through cuts or abrasions. Impetigo is primarily caused by strep bacteria.

Transmission: Direct skin-to-skin contact or contact with contaminated gear and surfaces. Outbreaks rapidly spread through close proximity in practices and locker rooms.

Prevention: Shower with antimicrobial soap immediately after training sessions. Disinfect mats, gear, and gym equipment after each use. Cover any suspicious skin lesions, sores, or pustules. Seek medical evaluation for possible antibiotics if infections appear to be spreading or have concerning features like fever or red streaking.

Treatment: Oral antibiotics if the infection is spreading, associated with fever, or not improving with topical treatment alone. Continued topical antibiotics for mild cases may also be prescribed. Keep draining wounds covered and maintain careful hygiene and sanitation practices.

Fungal Infections

Ringworm is a highly contagious fungal infection that commonly occurs among wrestlers and jiu-jitsu practitioners. Ringworm creates red circular scaly rashes on the arms, legs, chest, and back from skin-to-skin spread. It can also infect the scalp. Antifungal creams treat ringworm infections.

Transmission: Spread through direct skin-to-skin contact with an infected person or by contact with contaminated surfaces like mats. Outbreaks rapidly spread through teammates.

Prevention: Wash skin thoroughly with antimicrobial soap immediately after training. Disinfect gym surfaces and gear regularly. Cover affected body areas during training to contain spread. Wash athletic clothing and towels in hot water.

Treatment: Once daily topical antifungal creams for 1-2 weeks typically resolves most mild cases. Oral antifungal pills may be given for scalp or more severe infections. Avoid any skin-to-skin training until rash fully resolves.

General Prevention Tips

Actions athletes can take to help avoid infectious outbreaks:

  • Shower immediately after training using antimicrobial soap
  • Disinfect gear after each use
  • Wash clothing and towels in hot water
  • Avoid training if you suspect infection
  • See a doctor promptly if the infection appears to be spreading
  • Cover any skin lesions, rashes, or sores
  • Limit skin-to-skin contact with infected partners
  • Take prescribed antibiotics and antifungals fully

Here at Apex MMA we aim to prevent infectious outbreaks through proper hygiene and early treatment when infections do occur. Maintaining healthy skin maximizes valuable training and competition time throughout the season.

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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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