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What Is Mat Burn in BJJ? (Causes, Prevention, and Treatment)

How to Heal Mat Burn

To heal mat burn from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu:

  • Clean the affected area thoroughly to prevent infection.
  • Can apply burn cream to relieve pain and aid in healing
  • Then use sterile gauze to protect open wounds.
    • Liquid bandages or regular bandages can also help reduce friction and provide additional protection.
  • Finally, secure bandages with BJJ tape to prevent them from coming loose during training.

How Long Does It Take for Mat Burn to Heal?

Mat burn will eventually heal and callous on its own in 2-4 days but always be sure to keep your open wounds covered and clean

Mat burn can really happen during any type of physical activity, but they are more common in BJJ training because the ground grappling techniques in jiu jitsu often require you to be in certain positions that can lead to the rubbing of your skin against the mat.

Link: Mat burn is one of the more common injuries in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

In this post, we will explore the cause of mat burns and offer some tips on how to prevent and treat it.

Key Takeaways – Causes, Prevention, and Treatment

  • To treat mat burn you can:
    • cover effectve area with with a band aid and then with grappling/sports tape on top
    • spray it with antibacterial or use cream (this will burn though!)
    • use new skin to cover it
    • finally, make sure to clean them after training
  • To prevent mat burn you can:
    • Work on technique by:
      • staying active on your toes (and not dragging your feet)
      • don’t scramble on your knees
      • and lastly slow down and focus on technique
  • If you find you are getting a lot of mat burn on your feet, it is likely due to poor technique so make sure to not drag your feet and always stay active on your toes

What Are the Common Causes of Mat Burn?

Mat burn is a common injury in Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) that affects the athlete’s skin when they are on the ground, often as a result of compression or friction against the mat.

The condition can be exacerbated by specific techniques, such as arm bars, which put pressure on the wrists and elbows.

Common causes of mat burn include being continuously walked or rolled over, not using enough padding on the mat, not rotating properly during training, and wearing clothing that is too tight or too heavy. 

How Do You Prevent Mat Burn?

When rolling on mats, there is the potential for mat burn. This occurs when the surface of the mat becomes hot and adhesive. According to the American Burn Association, mat burn can occur when a person rolls too quickly or repeatedly over a hot surface.

To prevent mat burn, it is important to slow down and move evenly. Avoid over-rolling or dragging the mat across the floor. Place mats on a firm, flat surface before rolling.

You should also use a soft surface and ensure that you are rotated regularly so that your entire body is used. Always wear comfortable clothes and footwear so that you can train as hard as possible without experiencing any pain or discomfort.

Generally, your safety against mat burns relies on two things; a training ground with a good cleaning protocol and wearing appropriate training attire.

Wear Appropriate Training Attire (Gi and/or No Gi Apparel – Rashguard

The friction between the mat and your skin can cause inflammation and pain. So, to prevent mat burn, it’s advised to wear appropriate attire specifically for Gi and No Gi training. Wear compression clothing, apparel, rashguard, or tights to decrease the amount of friction on your skin.

Wear Knee Sleeves or Elbow Sleeves or Headgear

Knee/elbow sleeves and headgear aims to protect your skin from compression and friction you’ll experience during training. Some practitioners feel that it slows down their reaction time, making them more susceptible to submissions. But, these gears are important to avoid mat burns.

Protect Your Hands and Feet with Tape

Tape is a great tool to protect your hands and feet from getting cuts or scrapes. You can use regular adhesive tape or medical tape. Often, BJJ fighters dislocate their fingers or joints during training which causes swelling. Tapes are also a great stabilizer and help speed up recovery.

Avoid Certain Positions That May Cause Mat Burn

Some positions may cause mat burn. For example, sitting in the same position for an extended period of time, repeatedly using the same muscle group without rest, excessive sweating, and overuse of the leg muscles. If possible, try resting some of your body parts by evenly distributing the load through constant movement.

Make Sure the Gym You Are Training at Has Clean Mats and Good Cleaning Protocol

If you’re looking to up your training game, ensure the gym you are training at has clean mats and a proper cleaning protocol. According to JiuJitsu Journal, mat burn is “a term used for the physical discomfort that can be caused by long periods of intensive training on hard, inflexible mats.” While it’s not always easy to avoid mat burn, making sure your gym is taking care of its equipment can help minimize the chances of developing it.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How to Heal Mat Burn?

The easiest method to heal mat burn is to clean it then cover it with a liquid bandage or bjj tape.

Mat burns will eventually heal and callous on their own as long as you keep them clean and covered during training.

Additionally, as you continue to train bjj you’r technique will get better and you will learn to not drage your feet, stay active on your toes, and post proplery without causing your skin to run on the mat.

Should You Still Train When You Have Mat Burn and Are Sore?

Yes, you can still training when you have mat burn or when you are sore. However, you should always be sure to keep any open wounds like mat burn clean and covered for trainig.

If you feel you are over training and are still sore from a previous training session, it is always ok to take a rest day and let your body recover before going back.

Do Mat Burns Go Away?

Yes, over time, mat burns can heal on their own. Mat burns usually heal quickly with minimal scarring, but there are a few things that you can do to help speed up the healing process. The recovery of an individual varies depending on the condition and the severity of the burn. But generally, mat burns can go away on their own.  Some people may experience less pain and inflammation while other cases involve an open wound and severe soreness. Regardless, in general, mat burns go away on their own.

Do Certain Types of Mat Cause Mat Burn?

Yes, you can get mat burn from any average mat. But, there are certain types of mats that can be more abrasive on your skin than others. The most common types of mats are those made of felt or foam rubber. The materials are often sticky, so they accumulate sweat and bacteria on the surface. When these mats are walked or rubbed against rough surfaces, the friction can cause blisters, skin lesions, and mat burns.

Can I Still Train with Mat Burn?

The answer to that question depends on the severity of the mat burn you are experiencing. If it’s a light burn with minimal risk and can be endured for an important event, then yes, why not go for it? 

Just make sure you clean them constantly. Put some tape and bandages on the affected area. That should do the trick.

However, the same could not be applied if the mat burn is more open and swelling excessively. Try to rest and heal up for a few days and get back to action when you feel like you can.

Can Mat Burn Cause an Infection?

Mat burn can be very uncomfortable and can cause pain when you move your body. It can also lead to an infection if it spreads from the skin to the underlying tissue. If left treated, this can cause more severe complications.

If you think you may have experienced mat burn, please see a doctor as soon as possible. A medical professional will diagnose the condition and provide treatment if necessary. 

Why Do They Tape Their Fingers in BJJ?

BJJ tape is a piece of adhesive tape that is usually applied to the fingers where they will be most in contact with the submission hold or strike. The tape helps keep the fingers together and allows for more control over submissions and strikes. When properly applied, it also creates a barrier between the fingers and the ground, preventing injuries from occurring.

Finger protection in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is of utmost importance, not only because the sport is brutal, but also because many techniques involve grabbing, twisting, and pinching fingers.

What to Do About Mat Burn on Your Feet?

If you get mat burn on your feet (which is one of the most common places), you should work on not dragging your feet during drilling or sparring. Staying active on your toes is the number one thing you should focus on to avoid dragging your feet and getting mat burn.

Why do People Tape Toes in BJJ?

There are a few reasons why people tape their toes in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Toe-taping can protect the toes from mat burn, which is especially common during joint locks and transitions. Taping also prevents toe extensors from getting injured.

Some practitioners also tape their toes to simulate the feeling of having heavy weights attached to their feet. This helps practitioners in training adapt better to heavier positions and prevents them from accidentally slipping out of a position.

How to Treat Mat Burn From Wrestling?

If you’re like most grapplers and wrestlers, you’ve probably seen mat burn before. The best way to treat mat burn is to ice it and apply a topical cream or ointment. If the injury is severe, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to fight any infection. In the meantime, keep the affected area clean and dry, avoid wearing tight gears, and use a gentle cleaning solution on the affected area if possible.

What Is Matburn and How Do You Treat It?

Mat burn in bjj occurs from forceful friction of your skin against the floor or wall mat. To treat mat burn, you can cover the effected area with new skin or sports tape and use antibacterial spray or cream. To avoid mat burn, which usually happens more in the beginning of jiu jitsu training, you can work on your technique and focus on slowing down and not dragging your feet during drilling or sparring.