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Common Finger Injuries in Jiu Jitsu: Prevention, Causes, and Remedies

Common Finger Injuries in Jiu Jitsu: Prevention, Causes, and Remedies

Have you ever experienced finger injuries in Jiu Jitsu?

If you’ve been training bjj for more than a couple days, I gurantee you have already had your fingers bend in a way they shouldn’t and take a variety of other tiny cuts and brusies.

When you practice Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, you risk injuring your fingers, which is one of the most common injuries.

BJJ is a contact and combat sport. With all the grappling and ground fights, your fingers will constantly be exposed to the possibility of getting hurt.

Knowing the most frequent types of finger injuries and how they happen may give significant and proper ways to prevent and treat them and not make them worse.

What Are The Most Common Finger Injuries In Jiu-Jitsu?

Here, we have compiled a list of some of the most common finger injuries in Jiu-Jitsu and will discuss them individually. 

The tabled lists intend to quickly and easily help and provide ways to avoid injuries, discover their causes, and find some remedies you may employ.

Mallet Finger

A Mallet finger (because it resembles a mallet or hammer) is a deformity of the finger, often the result of injury in BJJ.

A mallet finger

It is when the last joint of the finger, which is placed just before the fingernail, becomes crooked and bends inward toward your hand.

CausesSymptomsPrevention and Remedies
Stretched or torn tendon at the end of your fingerSwollen or bruised and painful fingersApply ice on the swollen area
Fracture in Distal Interphalangeal Joint (DIP)Crooked fingerFinger splint
Unable to extend fingertipImmobilize your fingers with slight hyper-extension (for 6-12 weeks)
 Detached fingernail

Continue to wear splints until you can fully extend your fingers.

If the symptoms continue to show, medical help is likely needed to determine whether the damage requires severe treatment. If not, they would probably give you the same.

Mallet fingers that have exposed bone should be treated as soon as possible.

Ligament Injuries (Jammed Finger)

A swollen jammed middle finger

The condition known as a Jammed finger occurs when the end of the finger is pressed toward the hand.

The bones in your fingers are held together by fibrous connective bands of tissue known as ligaments. The force of the hit can strain or even rip it.

This injury happens most often when the tips of your fingers come into contact with the ground when doing BJJ.

CausesSymptomsPrevention and Remedies
Sprained ligamentsSwollen fingersApply ice to the swelling part
The tip of the finger is pushed toward the handHard-to-move fingers (painful)Buddy strapping/splint
Elevate your fingers while you rest

A Jammed finger is painful, but if you can’t extend your fingers, you should have it checked since you may have broken it rather than having a jammed finger.

Fractured Finger

When your finger’s bones break due to a fall or a significant impact, you have a Fractured finger. 

This injury usually occurs when your finger/hand gets caught in your opponent’s gi, loose shirt, or from too much grappling.

In case of a fractured finger, a physician must check your fingers immediately for the necessary treatment and alignment if a dislocation occurs before proceeding to the listed ones below.

CausesSymptomsPrevention and Remedies
Broken bone (from a fall or caught up on something)Swollen, bruising, and painful fingersApply ice to the swelling part
A popping sound from your fingersFinger splint
Unable to move your fingersBuddy strapping
 NumbnessMedication for pain

Dislocated Finger

Dislocated fingers is a joint injury wherein the bones separate or shift from the joint, causing it to be misaligned.

Because the symptoms of a dislocation, jammed finger, and fractured finger are all quite similar to one another, you should go and seek medical help. 

If it is a dislocation, the doctor will realign the joint carefully as the first step in the treatment. 

CausesSymptomsPrevention and Remedies
Joint misalignmentSwollen, bruising, and painful fingersFinger splint/ buddy strapping
Jammed fingersCrooked fingersDo not move the finger or thumb while waiting for help
Fractured fingersUnable to move your fingersMust be realigned (with the help of a doctor)

Sprained Or Hyperextended Finger

A sprained/hyperextension injury occurs when a joint/s in the finger is forced to move beyond its usual capacity, which may result in the tearing of tendons or ligaments.

In BJJ, when grappling or falling, you are sometimes unaware that you have stretched or bent your hands too much.

CausesSymptomsPrevention and Remedies
Overextended finger or handSwollen and painful fingersApply ice to the swelling part
Jammed fingersTingling fingersFinger splint/ protective taping
Unable to move your fingersBuddy strapping
 Soft tissue massage

Jersey Finger

An injury known as a Jersey finger results in a rupture of the Flexor Digitorum Profundus tendon.

This tendon is the one responsible for bending the fingertip downward. On the other hand, the Extensor Digitorum Tendon is the one that gets damaged in Mallet Finger injury.

See the photo below for reference:

Mallet finger vs jersey finger.

Getting your finger caught in anything in training or fights is a typical cause of this condition.

Causes SymptomsPrevention and Remedies
Ruptured/ tear in flexor tendonSwollen, bruising, and painful fingersApply ice to the swelling part
Gripping your hand too hard while fingers are outstretched.Popping sound at the time of injuryFinger splint
Unable to move or bend fingers

If the tendons are completely torn, prompt surgery is needed in order to repair it. 

Boutonniere Finger

Boutonniere Finger is an injury that happens when the Central Slip Extensor Tendon is torn when the middle joint (PIP) or the DIP is much extended.

The tendon rupture is shaped like a buttonhole or “boutonniere” in French. Hence, it is called the Boutonniere Injury. 

It impedes your capacity to extend the middle joint.

CausesSymptomsPrevention and Remedies
Ruptured/torn Central Slip Extensor TendonSwollen and painful middle joint of your fingersFinger splint/tape.
Jammed fingerStiff jointsStretching exercises
Bent middle joint (unable to flex)

Long-Term Effects Of Finger Injuries:

It is highly advisable to get your BJJ injuries checked by a doctor or specialist right after the incident or accident, especially when symptoms immediately show up. It is to ensure what medications and treatments you can safely do to heal quickly.

Related Article: Is BJJ Dangerous? – What Are The Most Common Injuries And How To Avoid Them

Injuries left untreated or taken care of can lead to long term-injuries and issues that can affect your performance in BJJ. Worst-case scenario, you’ll be prohibited from doing so.

For you to know what could be the long-term effect of a finger injury, we’ve got here Bursitis and Osteo-Arthritis.


Bursitis is the inflammation of the Bursa.

A bursa is a small sac that creates a cushion in your joints for your bones, tendons, muscles, and ligaments around your body, including your fingers.

This injury usually occurs in athletes that use their hands and fingers frequently in training, doing the same thing or movements constantly.

Treating bursitis is to relieve pain and reduces inflammation.

CausesSymptomsPrevention and Remedies
ContusionsSwollen and painful fingersMedication for pain and anti-inflammatory
Frequent joint injury and repetitive movementsUnable to move fingersApply ice to the swelling part
Finger cuts, burns, and other injuriesSmall lump in the inflamed areaFinger splint
Exercises and therapy
Cortisone injections


Osteo-Arthritis is one of the most common types of Arthritis out there. 

Once it starts, it will make the joint’s tissues gradually deteriorate throughout the illness.

It commonly occurs when you age due to the wearing and tearing of joints over time, and remedies are just for relieving the pain. 

CausesSymptomsPrevention and Remedies
Frequent joint tears and injurySwollen and painful fingersMedication for pain and anti-inflammatory
Excessive use of fingers in trainingUnable to move fingersApply ice to the swelling part
Stress on jointsStiffnessHot compress
Grating jointExercises and therapy
Cortisone injections

It would help if you also get these checked by your doctor to get the right medicine prescription.

Surgeries can also be done for both injuries.

How do you heal your fingers in jiu-jitsu

A Jiu-jitsu injury, like any other sports injury, can be either minor or severe. Nevertheless, treatment should be done as soon as possible.

You could always do the rest, ice, compression, elevation, or the RICE method for minor injuries. It is a treatment you can do at home to reduce swelling, inflammation, or pain.

Another thing you could do is put a finger splint or do the buddy strapping. 

A finger splint is used to hold and support your injured finger and avoid movements firmly.

Buddy strapping functions the same way (also a type of splint) but uses two fingers taped or strapped together. 

See the photo below for reference:

Finger splint vs buddy strapping

You can also do grip or finger exercises if you can move your fingers.

In terms of severe finger injuries, it is best to go and immediately see an expert or doctor. They will run extensive tests to determine your damage and take the proper measures or treatment.

Jiu jitsu finger tape

The use of your hands/fingers is essential in BJJ. It is primarily utilized in any motions that take place in training and sparring, particularly grappling.

With that being said, it is vital to take good care of your fingers.

One of the things you can use to keep your fingers safe while doing BJJ is the Jiu-jitsu finger tape.

Jiu-jitsu finger tape is what other practitioners usually place or circle each finger made out of latex, rubber, or cotton.

Why do they tape their fingers in BJJ

People who practice or train in BJJ tape their fingers mainly for protection and a better grip.

The tape is wrapped in the areas of the fingers where the joints are located where injuries usually occur to prevent or help heal them.

Taping your fingers can also stop you from having burns, cuts, and even callouses.  

Another use of finger tapes is for a more excellent grip. Even with sweaty hands, it will help you have a better hold and support.

Avoiding injuries and an advantage in good gripping with the help of this tape will have a good effect on your performance in BJJ. 

How to tape your fingers for BJJ

How to tape your fingers for BJJ

Taping up your fingers for BJJ may be done in a few different ways.

With a thin strip of tape, start circling it right above the knuckles (preferably thrice). 

Next, take the tape across or diagonally and start spinning again above the middle joint. 

Repeat the process until you form an “x.”

It will allow your fingers to have support but will also not restrict your movements.

You can also do taping with multiple fingers- which can be used when you’re injured.

Here is a video to show you how it’s done.

In some cases of injury, taping your whole finger and the thumb is also done. In this way, you can isolate and immobilize your injured fingers if you wish to continue to train. 

Here is another video on how to tape your injured thumb.

Common Finger Injuries in Jiu Jitsu – Conclusion 

Finger injuries are common in jiu-jitsu, and we’ve outlined the most common ones here. 

While some of these can be healed with time and rest, others may require surgery or other medical attention. 

If you’re experiencing finger pain or discomfort, it’s important to see a doctor right away for proper diagnosis and treatment. 

However, many of these injuries can also be prevented by taking a few simple precautions. 

We suggest wearing hand wraps or tape when training, being mindful of your technique and positioning on the mat, and icing/heating the affected area after class. 

Have you ever suffered from a finger injury while training? Let us know in the comments below. If you need help addressing any finger injuries you may have, please don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation. Our team would love to help get you back on the mat as soon as possible!

Thanks for reading and see you in the next one!

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