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

What Is Mat Burn in BJJ?

What is mat burn in bjj and how can 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.

While Brazilian jiu jitsu can be learned by anyone regardless of their size, sex, or skill level, bjj involves intense grappling and grappling matches. This can lead to mat burns or bruises on the skin caused by friction and impact during training.

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.

What Is Mat Burn in BJJ – Causes, Prevention, and Treatment Keys

  • 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
  • Mat burn will eventually heal and callous on your own but always be sure to keep your open wounds covered and clean!

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. 

Mat Burn on Face

Mat burn on the face can happen when a person is thrown to the ground and their face makes contact with the mat. The impact can cause the skin to heat up, which in turn causes irritation and blistering. In extreme cases, mat burn can penetrate through the skin and lead to serious injuries.

Mat Burn on Hands

Injuries to the hands can happen during training when the mat is too hot or when a fighter falls and hits their hand against the ground.

Mat burn can occur anywhere on the body, but it is particularly common on the hands and arms because they are constantly in contact with the mat.

The skin may become red, swollen, and blistering. In severe cases, mat burn can lead to infection and permanent damage to the skin.

Mat Burn on Elbows

The elbow is probably the second most prevalent site for mat burn. When an athlete is on the ground and someone applies pressure to their elbow, the skin can become compressed. This can cause pain and inflammation, which can lead to mat burn.

You typically post on one elbow, and because the elbow can support a lot of your weight, you may rub it against the mat with a lot of weight behind it.

Mat Burn on Knees

It is caused by friction between the mat and the practitioner’s knees, which can cause inflammation and even partial or full tears of the cartilage in the joint.

Mat burn is particularly common among new practitioners, as they are often not used to wearing supportive equipment like jiu-jitsu pants.

Make sure that you are constantly moving around so that your joints don’t get too hot.

Mat Burn on Feet

Mat burn is a condition that can occur when you continuously put pressure on your feet while grappling. The area around your feet becomes red, swollen, and hot. It may also develop blisters.

Mat burn should not be confused with foot cramps, which are different conditions caused by muscle fatigue.

Mat Burn on Toes

When an athlete is moving around on the mat and rubbing against objects or other athletes, their skin can become sore and inflamed due to friction.

This type of burn is most common when an athlete suffers from chronic friction syndrome, a condition caused by excessive sweating that creates static electricity on the skin’s surface.

Toes are susceptible to this burn since it acts as a pivot point for an attack and a holding ground for defense. As a result, too much pressure on these parts causes a burning sensation.

What Parts of the Body Usually Get Mat Burn?

Mat burn injuries can occur anywhere on the body, but they are most commonly seen on parts exposed to constant friction with the mat like your palms, knees, feet, and elbows. Injuries from mat burns can result in minor discomfort and skin irritation, but they can also lead to more severe injuries if not treated properly.

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.

How Do You Treat Mat Burn?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to when a mat burn will heal, as the time frame for treatment depends on the severity of the burn, the individual’s healing rate, and other factors.

In general, however, most mat burns will heal within two to four days. Minor burns that do not cause pain or discomfort may heal within a few hours or days. Deep burns that penetrate the skin may take longer to heal, up to several weeks.

If you experience pain or discomfort from a mat burn, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. While most mat burn injuries are relatively minor and can be treated at home, emergency medical care is always advised in case of serious injury.

When training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, it is important to be aware of the dangers of mat burns. Mat burns can be extremely painful and can lead to long-term medical issues if not treated properly. If you experience a mat burn during Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training, there are a few things that you can do to help ease the pain.

Clean Mat Burn 

A mat burn typically appears as a red, irritated area on the skin that may blister and heal in layers. The heat from the hot surface may also cause a second or third-degree burn. It’s important to clean the affected area first to remove any dust or unwanted debris before putting on any cream.

Use Burn Cream 

After you’ve cleaned the affected area, the next step is to apply a burn cream. Burn cream is a topical ointment that is used to treat minor burns. It is available over the counter and can be applied to the skin as needed. Burn cream helps to relieve pain, reduces swelling, and aids in the healing process.

Sterile Gauze

If you have a mat burn, Sterile Gauze Pads can come in handy to treat the affected area. These pads are clean and packaged individually to make sure that no particles, bacteria, or dirt can contaminate the swollen area. Sterile Gauze is effective in protecting and treating open wounds, but only apply it when you’re not excessively moving or in training.

Liquid Bandages

If you experience significant mat burn, you should take steps to reduce the amount of friction between your skin and the mat. One way to do this is to use a liquid bandage to cool and protect your skin. These bands come in several different varieties, including cooling gels, moisturizing creams, and healing masks. You can also apply a liquid bandage directly to the affected area.

Use BJJ Tape to Cover the Wound

BJJ tape is a great way to cover and protect wounds in BJJ. The tape holds everything in place, preventing any bandages from coming loose and becoming a possible infection or irritation. BJJ tape is available in various colors and sizes, so it can be tailored to the specific needs of each individual. Simply cut a piece of tape to the desired size and position it over the wound. Make sure to spread the adhesive as evenly as possible so that it does not cause any irritation or discomfort.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Does Mat Burns Ever Heal and Callous on Their Own?

Yes, 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.