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Hi, 

I'm Maximilian, my goal is to help keep the BJJ community injury free.

Finger injuries and taping

Finger injuries and taping

Due to the gripping systems used in BJJ, finger injuries are extremely prevalent in the Gi. Fingers can get caught in sleeves, twisted and sat on which can lead to fractures, strains and sprains. Unfortunately, finger injuries often aren’t taken too seriously and are sometimes brushed aside by those who have sustained them.

It should be noted if there is any deformity or open wound, medical attention should be sought immediately. There are many types of finger injuries that have a limited window of time to be surgically repaired or re-aligned. Delaying treatment for some types of finger injuries for even a few weeks can result in the injury becoming permanent and inoperable.

Here are some of these types of injuries that might fly under your radar.

  Mallet finger  refers to a drooping end-joint of a finger. This happens when an extensor tendon has been cut or torn from the bone. It is common when a ball or other object strikes the tip of the finger or thumb and forcibly bends it.

Mallet finger refers to a drooping end-joint of a finger. This happens when an extensor tendon has been cut or torn from the bone. It is common when a ball or other object strikes the tip of the finger or thumb and forcibly bends it.

  Boutonnière Deformity  describes the bent-down (flexed) position of the middle joint of the finger. Boutonniere can happen from a cut, tear or avulsion of the extensor tendon.

Boutonnière Deformity describes the bent-down (flexed) position of the middle joint of the finger. Boutonniere can happen from a cut, tear or avulsion of the extensor tendon.

 Jersey finger is when there is avulsion to the flexor digitorum profundus tendon at the distal phalynx. Note the ring finger's inability to fully bend.

Jersey finger is when there is avulsion to the flexor digitorum profundus tendon at the distal phalynx. Note the ring finger's inability to fully bend.


Providing that there is no deformity like the examples listed above, buddy taping is extremely useful for protecting finger injuries while training. Medical cloth or sports tape does the job well.  When buddy taping, it is important to allow the fingers to be able to bend. The goal of buddy taping to reduce any sidewise bending, and to permit flexion and extension of the finger joints. Typically the tape does not cross the knuckles.

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Taping the ring finger together with the pinky permits the first two fingers and the thumb to be used more. If you tape an injured ring finger to the middle finger, the hand loses more functionality.

Buddy taping is generally very safe and effective, however, issues can arise if the tape is applied too tight or left on for too long. Some things to keep an eye out for are:

1. Infections. Swelling, heat and tenderness are signs of this.

2. Irritation. Allergic reactions can happen between the skin and the tape. Some types of glue of certain brands can be wore than others.

3. Pressure sores between the fingers.

Moderation is important when it comes to taping. It’s important to have regular breaks from taping (not leaving the tape on for days) and to receive any necessary rehabilitation from your healthcare provider. Re-strengthening and mobilization protocols are also important parts of the rehabilitation process.
 

Reference:

McDonald AR, Murdock FA, McDonald JA, Wolf CJ. Prevalence of Injuries during Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Training. Sports. 2017 Jun 12;5(2):39.

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