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Modern martial arts training should be conducted in a safe manner however there are still risks that cannot be avoided which can lead to injury. These accidents could put you out of training for weeks, months or even years. Let’s take a look at the most common injuries and how to treat and avoid them.
Muscle strain – This is especially common in striking forms using high kicks and usually occurs in the groin area. Symptoms are pain in the muscles with swelling and bruising although this could also indicate a tear so treat with care. Rest is the best way to treat this injury along with applying an ice pack to prevent swelling and bruising. Applying heat to the area after a couple of days instead of ice should help speed up the healing process (apply ice straight after a training session). If the pain does not subside after 24 hours you should seek medical advice. Instructors in modern martial arts should be able to identify when you are ready to return to training, if in doubt consult a doctor. To avoid muscle strain you should perform exercises to strengthen all the muscles in the body. Be sure to warm up properly using dynamic stretches to gradually bring the range of motion up to your current limit.
Finger and knuckle injuries – This is common in grappling arts such as Judo and Wrestling. If you feel pain in the fingers try to move them, if you can’t without feeling a lot of pain then it is likely you have broken or dislocated the finger. You should seek medical advice if this is the case. If you can move the fingers but there is a dull pain you have probably bruised knuckles. This is easier to treat, use an ice pack on the fingers to slow the swelling and avoid moving the fingers until the pain has subsided. To avoid this kind of injury be sure to wear adequate protection. In grappling arts a common practice is to tape the fingers together to help strengthen them, in striking arts wear adequate gloves and revise your technique to make sure you are punching correctly.
Sprains – Most common in the wrist and ankle. Symptoms are usually pain in the joint while moving, swelling and bruising. Again rest is an important part of the healing process along with elevating the joint and applying a cold pack for up to 20 minutes several times a day. Once the swelling has gone down work on gentle exercises that will improve the range of motion and later move on to exercises that will strengthen the muscles around the joint. To avoid this type of injury be sure to warm up adequately before your workout, wear appropriate supports (for example wearing wrist straps when using a heavy bag) and build the muscles surrounding these joints. Sprains are most common in beginning students as they very often do not have their technique correct. Talk to your instructor and make sure you are performing all the techniques correctly.
The general advice for any modern martial arts injury is to rest, use an ice pack and warm up adequately before the main effort in a workout. If pain persists you should seek qualified medical advice. I hope this bit of advice will ensure you have a safer training session.
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