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The word “injury” is usually associated with larger, more “spectacular” things such as broken legs and arms, twisted ankles, knee, or back problems. In BJJ, of course, these injuries happen. However, it is much smaller parts of the body that are more often injured than those already mentioned. Many people’s first guess might be that it’s about ears and cauliflower ear. And yes, it’s a very common injury, but that’s not what it’s about this time. Here the main topic is fingers, how much pressure is placed on them, and what is BJJ finger taping. Check out a selection of the best BJJ finger tapes.
Finger injuries in BJJ
For a grappler, hands and fingers are like tools. You use them for so many things. Unfortunately, fingers in particular are quite delicate and prone to injury. It can be felt especially by people training in gis. It is because in the Gi BJJ, gripping the material plays a huge role. You can grip on sleeves, pants, lapels, belts, etc. And with this come two main threats to the fingers. One thing is that the materials from which gis are made to be durable are not rather pleasant and comfortable to grip on. This is why the fingers are often strained, rubbed, etc. The second risk is that fingers can easily become entangled in something and thus dislocate or even break.
Unfortunately, however, this is not all that can happen to your fingers due to training. Heavy pressure on the fingers when gripping and recurring even minor injuries lead to joint inflammation.This constant inflammation and trauma results in the reduction of cartilage in the joints, which is the definition of arthritis. Arthritis and osteoarthritis, are a degenerative joint disease. In the case of BJJ, these two are caused by constant wear and tear. This condition might involve the creation of bone spurs, bony increases, and profuse ligament and tendon damage. The result – constant pain that’s greatly exacerbated by gripping again and again. Unfortunately, actually, if you train Gi BJJ regularly, the chances of you having problems with the joints in your fingers at any given point are almost 100% certain.
Treatment and healing
When the injury is minor the treatment is pretty straightforward. Ice it, rest it and maybe take some anti-inflammatory medication if the swelling and the pain prevent you from conducting your daily tasks. If the injury is more serious, like when a finger completely bends backward, you need to consult a doctor. Only professional medical care will bring the damaged finger back to normal. Without consulting a doctor, the bone may heal crookedly and adhesions will form on the tendons and ligaments. However, prevention is better than cure. So in order not to endanger your fingers at all or not to aggravate existing problems, it is worth implementing prevention. And the best way to do this is BJJ finger tapping.
BJJ finger taping
If you’re new to BJJ, the concept of finger taping may be new and strange to you. You can be surprised by how many higher belts and all these veteran competitors on videos got all of their fingers taped. And might be wondering if it really works and helps somehow. That’s why below you will find an answer to why BJJ practitioners tape their fingers.
Why to tape?
Taping your fingers is just the best way of keeping them safe while training. In BJJ, your fingers are going to take a real beating, injuries are almost unavoidable. Fortunately, by taping your fingers, you’re giving them extra support and protects your joints and tendons. This allows you to keep training with no to less pain. Taping is something that most people do only after they sustained an injury – to minimize pain and risks of re-injuring.
Some BJJ practitioners tape their fingers because it is already the only way they can train. For some grapplers, it is even impossible to train if they don’t tape up the fingers. Without it, they aren’t able to take grips on their opponent without being in immense pain. The finger pain does not allow them to use many guard games such as spider, lapel, or lasso guard. BJJ finger taping will not magically solve all the problems, the pain still would be there. But, using tape will just make it more tolerable.
However, if it is not too late for you, in fact, prevention is best. You should actually tap your fingers before something happens. And not only when they are already dislocated. Unfortunately, hand and finger injuries take a relatively long time to heal and may force you to stop training for a while. So way better idea is to spend some time taping your fingers to protect them from nagging injuries. It will save you from gnarled old Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fingers, and chronic pain.
Some people are skeptical if the BJJ finger taping actually works. However, the reality is there is no other way to protect your fingers from the pain of GI BJJ. You can ask any BJJ practitioner if taping their fingers makes a difference, and most will say yes. So if you also plan to start taping your fingers, you should look for a good tape for this.
How to use BJJ Finger Tape
If you are going to buy a BJJ tape, or you already have one, it’s high time to learn how to use it properly. Fortunately BJJ finger taping is nothing hard to learn. And basically, everyone does it a bit in their own way, there is no one golden rule on how to do it. The most common is “X” shape finger taping. However, it is not the only method. You can also tape circles around the phalanges bones. One around the proximal phalanges, another in the medial, and another in the distal. Just remember distal phalanges are not always necessary depending on the damage on the finger. Sometimes, especially with injuries, you can also tape some fingers together. Also, even though you might have only one finger injured it is better to tape at least the two fingers next to the damaged one in order to fortify the whole hand. Check the videos below and see how it works in practice
X-taping is done for minor sprains, finger swelling or aches; it is also applied to provide additional grip and defense against injuries. It involves taping a single finger or a pair together by enveloping them in an “X” pattern; this will reduce the movement of a dislocated or swelled joint. You can tape the injury multiple times in the “X” fashion to reinforce the area and highly restrict movement to prevent pain.
Buddy taping is used in the case of severe sprains or fractures; it does the same function of restricting movement but applied only in pairs. You can combine it with the X technique to provide additional protection and movement limitation. Make sure that the applied tape is in accordance with the direction of the injured knuckles; whether it’s lateral or horizontal it needs to provide stability.We recommend you the following finger tapes as they have proven to be the best by comparison.
Other ways to protect your fingers
BJJ finger taping is the best method of protecting your fingers from injuries. By doing it you are just giving them the support they need for the effort of grips. However, this is not the only thing you can do. Your fingers have muscles, ligaments, and tendons in them, and this needs stretching regularly. Often after practice, people concentrate on the forearms but neglect the fingers. So start doing some finger stretching. Just google some finger stretches used by musicians and do the same (example below). Your fingers will thank you for that.
Best BJJ Finger Tape
If you are looking for a tape that isn’t as wide as normal athletic tape this one will be perfect for you. Thanks to the thinner width it is more flexible, usable, and durable when taping your fingers. It conveniently fits around each finger bone, giving you great comfort and support. What is also great, this tape tears very easily, almost like paper. But that doesn’t mean the tape doesn’t hold up. It surely does hold up and stay in one place even during intensive rolling. Also, this tape comes off without leaving the fingers feeling all grimy like it is sometimes with the super stick style tapes. Thanks to the fact that the tape is white and thin, it will also look great as a stripe on the belt.
If you are looking for a tape that will stay in one place even for long hours of training and intense fights, this one will be perfect for you. It’s very sticky and thanks to this stay on perfectly during rolling. Its adhesion is not reduced by heat or sweat. The adhesive is just that good. And also thanks to the porous design with micro holes it allows essential airflow to the skin and even reduces sweating. The tape does not loosen over time. What’s cool, despite the good adhesion, the tape is easy to remove afterward, you do not have to tire with it, cut, etc. It is also easy to apply in the first place. Thanks to zigzag edges you can easily tear it by hand. However, the price for very good durability and adhesion is that the tape is a bit stiff and not that stretchy. It is also one of the cheaper tapes if the price is important to you
This is just excellent tape, that performs exactly as you would expect. It simply works great and gives you as much support as you need exactly. So if you already have problems with your fingers and look for something that will help them during training, this BJJ tape is the perfect product for you. It also just looks cool. This pure black design definitely stands out among many other tapes. And for practical reasons, thanks to being black, this tape gets less dirty than white ones. The only slight disadvantage is that the smooth, not zigzag, edges of the tape can sometimes make it a bit difficult to tear it by hand without sticking the fingers in the adhesive too much.
The Powertrain finger tape shines in its ability to resist water while being made of cloth.
It is latex free and woven out of high quality fabrics making it a durable product to work with. The water resistance, breathability and its adhesive attribute makes it a very viable option when it comes to activities with high intensity and prolonged workout duration. Strong compressive and a constant tension allow it to restrict movements when applied for injury or grip. It is available in a custom length of 1cm x 10m.
Tap Tape – Fission 0.3 Finger Tape
Tap Tape’s Fission finger tape proves to be a versatile option for purchase when it comes to BJJ. After proper application, Fission 0.3 can hold together and shield your joint injuries or swelling for a long period of time. It is flexible, easy to apply and remove thereby making it a remarkable option regarding usability for anyone. There is also a high thread count in its fabric and each packet has 3 rolls, 15 yards each and a 0.3 width, giving you more bang for your buck.
When it comes to protection and reinforcement, Evolver’s Magic finger tape takes the name. The latex rubber, which it is made of, adds layers after layers of a strong and sturdy grip. The stiff construction of the product also makes it a barrier to prevent injuries when faced with possible and serious blows. Its key features are its non-sticky and self-sealing capabilities as it holds firm even if it’s wet, therefore adding water resistance
This BJJ tape gives you proper support and stays in one place during training, washing your hands, etc. It stays where it’s supposed to. Also, it doesn’t slip or comes loose no matter what you do. Even if you sweat a lot it doesn’t affect the tape at all. Moreover, it is easy to tape up and to remove. Unlike many other tapes, it can be removed without leaving any sticky residue. In brief, it is just good quality tape. And what’s also cool about it, is that this tape comes in different colors and widths. So if you buy one and are satisfied but you need another color or width, you don’t have to look any further, but you can order from the same brand.
If the price is most important to you, it will be a great choice for you. Sticks very well and rips well. Will provide proper support to your fingers and will act well as a stripe on the belt. It gets dirty a bit quickly, but it’s the white color, after all, so to be expected. It stays on your finger as long as you need. What’s cool, rolls last a very long time. It’s just a good product at a good price. The basic one, but in good meaning. So if you are a fan of classics and simplicity this is a good choice for you.
You can say about this tape that it is multi-purpose. Thanks to clean and sharp edges it looks great as a stripe on your belt. The adhesive is holding up well on the clothes and itself. What’s great, this BJJ tape not only looks good but also has high functionality when it comes to taping your fingers. It stays on no matter what you do. You can go with it in the shower, in the hot tub, have it while training jiu jitsu, etc. This durable tape will just stay in one place. The only problematic issue may be taking it off. It comes off a little hard. Its strong advantage, however, is the ratio of quality and quantity to price.