Most Common MMA Injuries

Most Common MMA Injuries
Photo by Attentie Attentie

Mixed Martial Arts has grown rapidly in popularity in recent years, with names like Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor becoming increasingly common in the mainstream sporting world. When major fights come around, even those with seemingly little interest in the sport throughout the year become self-proclaimed experts, and the range of markets available on major betting sites – take a look at this Bet365 bookmaker review for an example – are indicative of this popularity.

It won’t come as a surprise to many that this sport results in a lot of injuries. After all, any sport in which the goal is to physically demolish an opponent to the point of submission or knock out is bound to have some consequences. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most common injuries which arise in this sport.

Elbow Injuries

You might have expected head injuries to pop up first, but courtesy of a move called the Armbar which is common in Jiu-Jitsu, the elbow gets first billing. This move results in the unlucky fighter on which it is inflicted upon to have their elbow hyperextended, with the aim from the perpetrator being to cause significant enough pain that their opponent submits.

Head Trauma

These are the injuries which many people probably most immediately associate with MMA fighting. After all, the head is a pretty vulnerable part of the body, and a couple of strong blows can pretty quickly end a fight. Injuries to the head in MMA can come in many different shapes and sizes. Lacerations – more commonly known as cuts – are unsurprisingly pretty regular, with many fighters ending a bout looking like they’ve rolled head first down a cactus-laden hill.

But there are plenty of other kinds of head trauma suffered by MMA fighters. Concussions are also very common – again, not surprising given the head is so commonly targeted by both opposing feet and hands. Nasal fractures can also pop up, resulting in some pretty disjointed looking noses on the faces of MMA fighters, while dental injuries also occur fairly frequently. Clearly, this is not a sport for anyone looking to break into the modelling industry!

Hand Injuries

This is an interesting one, because often hand injuries can actually be a sign of success. Fractures of the interphalangeal joints and wrists are the most common hand injuries, with these typically being sustained as a result or hitting your opponent. Clearly you’d rather be on the giving end than the receiving end of a strike from an MMA fighter – you might end up doing some damage to your hand or wrist, but they could easily end up with a broken nose or concussion.

Shoulder Injuries

There are a couple of different ways that MMA fighters can injure their shoulders. Given the amount of grappling that goes on in this sport, it’s unsurprising that that can pretty often cause damage to the shoulder. Often, this comes in the form of dislocation, with shoulders popping out either anteriorly (to the front) or posteriorly (to the back). Fighters also commonly suffer from a rotator cuff tear, with the rotator cuff being the group of muscles and tendons surrounding the shoulder joint.

Acute injuries aside, MMA fighters can also suffer from shoulder injuries over the longer term. This typically comes from overuse; the shoulder is clearly pretty heavily trained and then utilised during fighting, so strains as a result aren’t uncommon in fighters.

Knee Injuries

Finally, to the knee. Knee injuries are certainly not unique to MMA, and in a relative sense certainly occur less in this sport than others when compared to head and elbow injuries. However, plenty still happen, and they can come about in a couple of different ways. Sudden directional shifts are common in MMA, and as is the case in many other sports this is a pretty common way to do damage to your knee. MMA fighters are also exposed to knee injuries which occur from being hit, with a strong kick, for example, more than capable of causing ligament tears.

A torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is one relatively common MMA injury – as it is in many sports – with this injury generally requiring a relatively long rehabilitation. PCL tears, which are generally not as common in other sports and which often come from direct impact rather than a directional change, have also been found to be common in MMA – much more so than in other sports.

Mixed Martial Arts is about as physical a sport as there is, with participants sent into what’s known as the Octagon to literally cause their opponent to submit or knock them out in any way possible. As a result, injuries are invariable. This is the case in most sports, but in MMA it’s particularly so and the range of injuries which are commonly sustained is extensive. From the head to the knee to the elbow, as the above list shows, there are few parts of the body which are immune to injury in MMA.


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