Waking up recently I’ve been unable to pick things up or make a fist. My fingers have been swollen and there is only one thing I can blame for it. BJJ. Well, that and old age. But seeing as it has just suddenly come on, I don’t think it’s arthritis, yet. So what is causing this discomfort? Why have I got aching fingers from BJJ?
There is one theory that I’m starting with. I’m gripping my partner’s GI too tightly. As a newbie everything is urgent, stressed, overdone and with maximum effort for every bit of the class. This creates an enormous amount of stress on the very small ligaments in your hand. Anyone that has ever played a musical instrument will know that you need to properly warm up your fingers with scales. When playing, your hand needs to be really relaxed and you need regular breaks. BJJ is no different. Try opening and closing your hand, loosening up wrist when performing the other compound warm up exercises.
After your class, if you have been practising grips or a move that involves grabbing or breaking grips, then you might need to take some remedial action to prevent aching fingers from BJJ. Fill a bowl of water and add ice. Grit your teeth and submerge your hand. Admittedly, this is painful and you can probably only manage a minute or two but perceiver. I find this really helps. Take some ibuprofen, this is an anti-inflammatory and will assist in stopping your hands from swelling.
I see the other BJJers wearing tape on their fingers. Some have injured their fingers and tape them up to prevent a relapse. Some tape them to avoid fingers getting caught in GIs and being sprained, broken or dislocated. But most of the time its to stop you gripping too hard and offering some support to your fingers.
I hope this helps. As always, I’m not offering instruction on BJJ. I record my observations as I develop and record them here. Email me if you have a question and I’ll find someone who knows what they are talking about to answer it. ; )
Till next time, keep rollin’!