What Is Up With The Finger Taping In BJJ?
After training Jiu Jitsu for a while you are most likely going to be pretty used to bumps and bruises on your body.
Every sport has a common injury associated with it, such as knee injuries in Soccer or shoulder problems in Swimmers; in Jiu Jitsu an area that is specifically injured in the sport is the fingers. Of course there are multiple common ailments in Jiu Jitsu such as rib injuries or knee ligament tears, but those aren’t as isolated as finger arthritis caused from gripping the gi of your opponent.
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Why are Jiujitiero’s fingers so smashed? Gi grapplers are all about the grips; collar grips, pant grips, wrist rides, hand holds...it’s all about the grips! After long periods of training your fingers will have been subject to constant joint pressure from trying to hold onto fabric with such force, and you are likely to have suffered from at least some minor dislocations at some point.
These consistent injuries result in your joints responding with inflammation in an attempt to protect itself, which over time reduces the amount of cartilage in the joint. Other side effects can be bone spurs, ligament or tendon damage, and pain. To avoid, or eventually to alleviate the pain in your hands and keep your grips as strong and secure as possible for the entirety of your Jiu Jitsu career there is a great solution- Finger Tape!
Applying a quality finger tape to your joints can help prevent arthritis from worsening as quickly, as well as help you maintain a lower level of pain during your grappling sessions. There are a few different options on how to tape your fingers depending on your goals and what conditions you are treating:
X-Taping: Taping this way gives you a good amount of flexibility while still giving your joints support. The multiple sites and wrap around technique also make it more likely to hold up to training and less likely to fall off during rolls. However, if you are planning on using this technique be prepared to use a lot of tape!
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Your fingers are supported with a pulley system; begin by wrapping a few times around the more proximal part of your finger (closer to the base) before crossing over the joint to the more distal portion (closer to the tip). Continue with additional wraps around that part of the finger before cross back over the joint and repeating the turns around the bottom for security. The tension in the tape is important, but be sure not to use too much to avoid cutting off circulation. This method is a great option if you have aching fingers but they aren’t significantly sprained.
Buddy Taping: This method restricts the flexibility of the joints you are taping, so is ideal for sprains that you are trying to keep immobile. Similar to the previous method you will tape around the pulley’s of the finger, but also include the adjacent finger. Simple rotations around the two digits is sufficient, but if you are having a problem with the tape falling off during training then you can apply the X method to both fingers to get a more durable wrap.
If you suffer from finger arthritis, or are looking to lessen the likelihood of developing it, then try applying either of these methods in the future. Use a good tape that is meant for fingers, and if your digits are feeling stressed or injured try to rely less on your grips. Experiment with different guards or positions that don’t involve your finger grips quite as much.
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Want to learn more about BJJ related injuries and health care? Then checkout other articles:
BJJ ankle injury
BJJ skin infections
BJJ lower back pain
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