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Can I train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu With a Torn Labrum?

Can I train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu With a Torn Labrum?

Grappling martial arts involve the movement of hip and shoulder joints in almost all necessary techniques. In BJJ, Shoulder joint mobility is very crucial to grasp your opponent or putting him down. Hip joints are also important to maintain balance on the mat, pass the guard, and in the application of some techniques like the armbar.

Shoulder and hip joints are ball and socket joints that allow movement in a wide range. BJJ practitioners do a lot of exercises and rolling to strengthen their shoulders and hip joints and increase mobility. During this workout, sometimes they hurt their labrum.

A BJJ practitioner who is experiencing a shoulder or hip injury can feel how much these joints are crucial to BJJ practice or workout. BJJ practitioners can experience a number of shoulders and hip injuries. We will discuss one and most important of them, Torn Labrum.  

1. What is a Torn Labrum?

The labrum can be defined as the ring made of cartilage present in both hip and shoulder joints to fix the ball-like bone into the socket of the girdle. This cartilage ring allows a wide range of motion in both joints without any pain and fear of dislocation.

A torn labrum is the condition when the labrum gets hurt or damaged due to over-mobility, lifting heavy weights, or during the application of some submission techniques like kimura or shoulder lock.

2. How to Pursue BJJ Training With Torn Labrum?

BJJ practitioners require great strength and flexibility in their shoulder and hip joints. These joints are important to overcome your opponent and stabilize you on the mat.

Grapplers mostly experienced torn labrum during their training. Torn labrum involves instability in the joint as the labrum is responsible to hold the bones at the joint.

BJJ rolling with torn labrum is not an appreciable activity. If you feel pain in your shoulder or hip joints, you should immediately consult with your doctor.

If you have a little tear in your labrum, you can continue your training with some necessary limitations. But severe damage to the labrum requires time to heal properly or requires surgery.  

Here we will discuss some suggestions for BJJ practitioners after they went through a Labrum Tear.   

2.1. Consult With Your Doctor

If you feel pain in your hip or shoulder joints after some heavy workout, weightlifting, or submission by a technique in which your shoulder or hip joint is involved, you should visit your doctor.

Labrum tears can lead to extensive loss if neglected. So consult with your doctor on time.

BJJ practitioners with a torn labrum must follow the doctor’s recommendation. If you have a few little tears in your labrum, a little care can heal your labrum and you can continue your training with some limitations and a doctor’s advice.

But if you have some serious damage to your labrum, now is the time you should listen to your body. Surgery is also recommended in some cases.

2.2. Use Braces

BJJ practitioners can continue their training and workout with braces in a few cases. Braces help to limit the movement of affected joints. Limited movement helps to heal the injury in less time.

But braces cannot be helpful while training in case you have a severe injury. In this case, you have to take a rest and stop BJJ rolling until your labrum gets healed.

2.3. Go for Surgery If Required

Treatment of the torn labrum depends upon the type, location, and intensity of the labrum tear. If you have some minor tears in your labrum, you can train with the advice of your doctor. These can be cured with some exercises, or by the body's normal healing activity within 4 to 6 weeks.

But if physical therapy does not help to heal torn labrum or rim tears near the tendon, they require surgery as this area cannot be treated with external methods. After surgery, extensive care and a resting period are also required for healing before rejoining the gym for BJJ training.

Reinjuring the labrum during treatment can cause complications or extend healing time. Even after complete healing, avoid exerting pressure on your labrum and take proper recovery time.    

2.4. Limit Your Training Time

Training with a torn labrum is not recommended in most cases. But a torn labrum requires months to heal properly. After some treatment and rest, you can continue your training but long-time rolling and heavy workouts can be dangerous for your healing labrum.

For BJJ practitioners having a torn labrum, it is suggested that they should limit their training for a short time and should not lift heavy weights. Some moves and positions can further damage the labrum.

2.5. Take Recommended Recovery Time 

Arthroscopic repairing of a torn labrum needs less time and reduces pain but surgical treatment can take a long recovery period. 

Do not be in a hurry to start training after treatment. Torn labrum takes more time to heal than a normal injury. Let your torn labrum heal properly. If you do not let your labrum be healed, it can weaken your shoulder or hip joint and can also make you unable to rejoin BJJ forever. 

2.6. Do Training With a Trustable Person

If you are training with a torn labrum, you should be careful while selecting your partner. Do not roll with a person heavier than you or a person you cannot trust.

Reinjuring the healing labrum can cause severe damage and also extend recovery time. So, always roll with the person who has your trust that he will not hit your injured joint.

3. How to Prevent Torn Labrum?

Strong and mobile shoulder and hip joints are necessary for BJJ practitioners to avoid injuries.

Here we will discuss some precautionary measures to avoid torn labrum.

3.1. Take care of Your Shoulder and Hip Joints

BJJ training involves movements of shoulders and hip joints in various frames. Both these joints are very important to control opponents and get a submission. To move beyond the normal limit, these joints should be strong and flexible.

Little injuries which are ignored for the first time during training can cause serious damage to your body. To avoid severe injuries like Labrum tears, you should be very careful about your joints. If you observe pain or bruises during training, take it seriously.

3.2. Do Not Resist The Submission

One and the most important thing about tapping in BJJ is when to tap. While training in the gym or fighting a tournament, never test your limits beyond your endurance. If you are strangled by a choke or lock and you cannot defend it, you should tap.

Tapping is not as bad as you think. Late tapping can damage your bones, muscles, or joints and also give you a long break. 

3.3. Shoulder and Hip Strengthening Workouts

Shoulder and hip joints are the most crucial and engaged joints in BJJ. To stabilize on the mat and overcome your opponent, you should work on your shoulders and hips. Strengthening workouts help to prevent labrum tears.

4. Physical Therapy for a Torn Labrum

Mild injuries to the labrum can be cured with physical therapies recommended by professionals. Physical therapy can be recommended before surgery for the strength of the shoulder and hip joints to reduce recovery time or prevent surgery.

Physical therapy is helpful to reduce pain and allow movement at the joint. If you feel pain, stop doing the workout. It can be more dangerous to your healing labrum.

Here are some exercises for labrum tears. 

4.1. For Shoulder Labrum Tear

Wall stretches

  • Stand straight facing the wall.
  • Keep your hands on the wall.
  • Slide your hands on the wall in an upward direction and move your body toward the wall.
  • Stay in this position for 20 seconds and now move your hands downwards and your body away from the wall.
  • Repeat three times.

Cross-Body Stretches

  • Lie on your side by facing the hurt shoulder toward the ground.
  • Bent your hips and knees.
  • Place your lower arm perpendicular to your body.
  • Grasp your lower elbow with your opposite hand and slightly pull it upward.
  • Keep this position for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat twice.

Lying Down Shoulder Flex

  • Lie on your side in such a way that your hurt shoulder face toward the ceiling.
  • Hold a lightweight in your hand.
  • Keep your arm straight and move them towards your head.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat ten to twelve times. 

4.2. For Hip Labrum Tear

Standing Hip Abduction

  • Begin by standing straight and looping a band around both of your ankles.
  • Lift your one foot (which side of the pelvic girdle is hurt) in an upwards direction as you can lift.
  • Hold for a few seconds as you can perform easily and then again place your foot on the ground.
  • Repeat ten times.

Standing  Hip Abduction

Single-Leg Bridge

  • Lay down on the floor on your back.
  • Keep your arms straight on the ground.
  • Bend one leg and keep your foot flat on the ground.
  • Move the leg with the hurt hip joint straight and upward and squeeze the glutes.
  • Repeat 10 times.

Single-Leg  Bridge

Dead Bug

Lay down on your back.

  • Move your arms and legs in the air.
  • Bent your legs at 90 degrees.
  • Move your leg downwards and the opposite arm as well and hold for 3 seconds.
  • Now return to your previous position and perform the same for the other leg and arm.
  • Repeat it 5 times. 


5. Takeaways

Prolonged BJJ training requires strong shoulder and hip joints. Labrum tears can happen if an athlete did not focus on the strength of these joints. A torn labrum can be treated with physical therapies but surgery can also be required in case of severe injuries.   

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