As anyone who has trained knows, injuries are not uncommon in those getting in the ring or cage. Some are severe, like major lacerations that may require sutures to hand fractures that require rest, casting or even surgery. But these are the most common injuries that can keep you out of training or not allow you to maximize performance and how they can be treated to get you back to competition ASAP.
**Please note that this is not a complete approach to diagnosing and treating running injury. There may be many other issues that need to be identified and treated in order to get you running pain-free without limitations.
- 1. Healed Fractures After Surgery or Coming Out of a Cast
Broken bones are one of the most common injuries in MMA and boxing, especially of the 5thmetacarpal, or the bone below the little finger in the fist. Bones can fracture either traumatically or slowly over time in the form of a stress fracture. These injuries will often require at least 6 weeks of rest and possibly surgery or immobilization in a cast. The major work can be the stiffness and lack of hand and wrist strength after these injuries.
Depending on the severity of the fracture, the surrounding joints, ligaments and muscles can also be damaged and need rehabilitated. Seeing a skilled physical therapist who has expertise in working with fighters and sports injuries who can utilize various manual/mobilization techniques can be critical to getting back to training and preventing re-injury
- Knee Injuries
Due to the unbelievable stresses that MMA and boxing can exert at times, the knees are deeply suscewptible to injury, especially when they are twisted or forced into awkward positions during fight grappling and quick changes in directions. It is not uncommon for fighters to tear the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), or meniscus, all of which could lead to significant time away from training and require surgery and extensive physical therapy.
In some cases, these injuries can be treated with nonsurgical methods like rest, ice, bracing, and physical therapy. But the newest research confirms that the risk of ACL injuries can be significantly decreased with a proper training regimen and a screen to look at landing mechanics and weaknesses that may lead a fighter more likely to tear this ligament.
3. Concussions and Neck Pain
A lot of boxers and MMA fighters choose not to protect their head by wearing protective head gear when training or competing, leading to an increase risk of head and neck injuries. Though MMA does not allow a 12-6 strike to the head (straight up-and-down) or a hit to the top or back of the head, other head and neck hits are still allowed that create damage and injury.
It is critical that coaches, referees and the fighters themselves are able to recognize the signs and symptoms of a concussion in order to prevent further damage by another blow that could compound the seriousness of the injury. These potentially life threatening injuries can lead to permanent damage if the concussion is not allowed to fully heal. An evaluation from a medical doctor who specializes in concussions is needed in order to return and minimize risk of another concussion.
Neck pain is also something that fighters will complain of after training or competition. It can simply localize in the back of the neck or across the shoulders from muscle or joint problems or be more severe by affecting the discs, leading to pain, numbness and tingling into the arms, and more seriously weakness and susceptibility to more severe problems. Getting a proper biomechanical evaluation from a licensed physical therapist who specializes in spine pain could save months of pain and decreased training.
Boxing and MMA injuries can be severe and result in surgery or even permanent damage. But many injuries are preventable or can be rehabilitated by a physical therapist who can help speed recovery, find minor weaknesses and mobility issues that are leading to a decrease in performance.