#63 Small Joint Injuries & How to deal with them.
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Have you ever dislocated a finger or twisted a toe? It’s a nasty injury that can hang around for ages if you don’t deal with it properly. JT & Joey have had their share of small digit injuries, it’s just part of the BJJ game but you don’t have to be in pain forever. The boys outline the steps you need to take to make sure you restore your killer death grips and get back to choking fools ASAP.
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Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another Bulletproof for BJ podcasts. Hi guys. I’m JT. Hey guys. I’m Joey. What’s up. And today we are talking small joint injuries and how to deal with them. Fingers, toes, potentially wrists. We all know what it’s like. You’re grappling you take a grip. Someone breaks your grip. Your finger gets caught in the G you know, you stub your toe, someone twist your foot. And the thing about the small joint injuries is they take ages. Uh , I recently have had some issues with this. Have you had issues with this Joe before? Yeah. Heaps. I got a couple at the moment. One is my index finger, which was from jits . Kiron a Fe . Oh , thank him for that, that guy. I was just trying to cross face the out of him inside control. Just punching him in the throat and it hurt you . Yeah. And I was like, bro, why’d you do that to my finger. <laugh> no side control. Yeah . Kind of , uh , both, both arms under yes. And had had this hand underneath and was just kind of holding him as it was fine. But then he did the , he did the big bridge , multiple bucks and at one point my finger kind of extended out against his back. And then he came down on top of it. Oh yeah. And I was like, oh , I’m an idiot. <laugh> um , but then the other one was when I fell off my skateboard while carrying kettlebells. Oh , that’s an amazing , <laugh> amazing. Not a Jitsu thing, but absolutely SA that was Savage. They’ve been so and stiff for months. But you got cut with that one too, right? Yeah. It took off a lot of skin. Oh . But the longer like that’s healed and now the longer lasting thing is the , the joint, the joint and the bone. Yeah . Which is the same as my index finger. Like, and I’ve had it so many times over the years. Sure. Yeah. More recently for me it was judo my right hand grips my stronger grip . And if I can do get a good collar grip, usually no one’s breaking it. Even, even someone who’s stronger than me and I had the stronger, like my strongest grip. I can break it. I know you guys are wondering it , break it. It’s not true. I just, Joe doesn’t train the same days as me anymore. Since uh , the last time we rolled, it’s fine. I , I accept that. He’s busy. He’s a busy dad technique, overcome strength every day of the week. Guys, remember that <laugh> any day of the week operative word from Joe there being his weak, but that’s fine. It was a technique that I hadn’t seen before. The , the guy had his big brown belt, strong guy at judo. Put his hand under my hand because you’re not allowed to do two grip. Two hand grip breaks anymore. You can only do one, which is hard. And then he just gave me this hardcore , like Palm strike , you know, like that the dim muck and the , the break of the bricks. Yeah . Van dam in the blood sport . And he’s got , he breaks the bottom brick. Amazing bottom one , man. He gave me the dim mark and my index finger, my middle finger, my ring finger all got caught in the lapel and semi dislocated. Oh , like 45 degrees. And we are in the middle of grappling. And I just was like, eh , fight, fight, fight, snapped them back into place. And since then, like all last week, I couldn’t, I couldn’t properly close my hand. I couldn’t pick up a bar. Couldn’t hold a bar or pull up. Like, it was very confronting cuz I haven’t had this small joint injury thing for ages. It’s been years since I’ve had that issue. Um , specifically. And when it happens to you, if you’ve had your finger dislocated or you’ve broken a broken a big toe, you’re like, wow, this is so disabling. Even your pinky toe, a friend of ours, Jess purple ball , Jess . She , um, kicked her pinky toe on the coffee table and broke it. Oh . And it’s, you know, you’re just not thinking, but you feel it every time you move and here’s the thing, guys, oftentimes we do nothing. We think ah , if I do nothing, it’ll get better. The only problem with the is , uh , you know, I’ve done a bit of research on this, read a bunch of literature. Uh , there’s a critical point, which you gotta get it moving again. And cuz if you don’t, the joint will start to calcify and you get all these kind of adhesions and build up and then you basically got claw hands. Yeah . Or like your funky toe, your hands doing a gang sign chuckers. That’s no good. So we’re talking about how are we gonna deal with that? You , your fingers are sore . Now, even though we’ve talked about this before, about icing all the literature, there’s so much outdated stuff, it’s just going ice it. Now, part of the reason why they recommend icing is it just makes things feel better. Like it numbs it. So if you’ve got this constant ache, it will take that away for a little while. But invariably, once joint warms up again and you start to try and move it again, the ache comes back. But the, the number one thing they’re talking about is elevation to stop swelling. If you’ve got acute swelling, like you’ve dislocated one of your major joints and it’s just fat. I dunno if you’ve ever had that, where it get twist and your joint swells, you think, oh God, that’s gross elevation. Now that can be hard to do if you’re constantly using your hands or you’re walking around. But elevation is the number one thing to reduce swelling. Even though that we know that swelling is part of the, you know, repair process elevation, we’re talking about the , the injured area above the heart of your heart. Yeah. Well, in, in the instance of say your leg, even if you’re sitting down, put your foot up on a chair. Yeah . That’s better than just having it straight through , but the ideal would be like up lying down your back, leg , up your arm up. Yeah . Or having your leg up as the case may just on that. The ice is also good for getting rid of inflammation, is it not? Yeah, that’s true. So it’s got the pain, the pain killing effect in the short term , but also good for getting the swelling out. Like something that I find and like JT, we have spoken about it. Ice has been shown to not necessarily be the best way forward in, in assisting the recovery of an injury. However, my one counter to that that I often think is, is relevant to discuss is that sometimes what can make an injury hard for you to get over is the fact that the area’s still swollen, particularly with a finger. Yeah . If it’s really inflamed and you can’t move it. Yes. It’s hard for you to restore function cuz you just can’t move it. Yeah. So even though perhaps the ice thing may not be the best approach for some aspects of the, of the healing process. I do believe in the finger case, if it can reduce the inflammation and allow you to start to get some movement. Yeah. Then that that’s a huge benefit. Okay. So , uh , just to add onto that, if you’ve hurt your hand and you haven’t torn a ligament or if you’ve hurt your toe and your connective tissues are in place anti-inflammatories and ice will help because ultimately the next step, and this is what I was gonna talk about is, is movement. So the , the downside generally relevant to using ice or using any inflammatories . If you have damaged ligaments, they slow the healing of de ligaments, right. But if you’re all connective tissues are in place and it’s just joint inflammation and ultimately long term rehab requires movement. What gets you moving sooner is possibly better. So, you know, I’m a doctor, I’m not a physio. I can’t tell you to , oh , go take this drug or X, Y , Z wish I could. I definitely know that I had a recommendation from a physiotherapist friend of mine who said, look, your ligaments are intact. The sooner you get the thing , moving the sooner you are back to healing. So his recommendation was, make sure you eat your food, but you know, go for it, take your, any implants, ice it up, get yourself moving. And this is the next step in the process guys, which is massage and therapy. So if you can’t move your hand yourself, like under your own volition, actually going to a hand therapist or a physiotherapist and getting them to massage it and stretch it and massage the hand and just get blood flow. Cuz that’s the hardest thing. When you come to the hands and the feet, it’s mainly connective tissue. There’s not a lot of muscle there and they just, it just doesn’t get the blood flow. So if you can’t move your hand comfortably and I have a , I , I might have mentioned this before. Good client of mine, Angus. Yeah. He basically came off his bike and completely shattered both wrist hands. Mm . And had to learn how to use his hands. Again. That’s a bad day. Oh , terrible day. But he was getting therapy every single day so that he could actually have function. And funnily enough, after terrible 12 months, he actually got it back. But he attributes it solely to getting physiotherapy nearly every single day. We got a friend, friend of my sisters who has a brother because him, a quadriplegic guy had a terrible, terrible experience fella for stool onto a ceramic floor. Oh God . And , um, quadriplegic was , and it was like bound in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. However, his family has got amazing family, mom , dad, brother, and sister, all decided that they would essentially kind of sponsor one of his, his limbs each. And they spent like, I don’t know how long it was. It must have been months now to maybe years of moving and massaging each of his limbs. So I was like, I got the left arm. I got the right arm. Oh , okay. And he’s actually regaining function. Wow. And he’s still stuck in a wheelchair, but he played like wheelchair golf and oh wow. Yeah. Like he , like it’s, it’s it wild. He’s actually defied a lot of what they thought of neurological recovery. Wow. That’s incredible. Yeah. But it’s just that, it’s the , it’s the movement thing. Same deal on that. Say with my fingers with jujitsu , right. It’s usually one finger that you up. So you’re like, ah , it’s just that sore finger. It’s not enough for you to go. I’m not gonna train. So you always kind of train through it a bit. But the , the massage that I like to do yep . I like to create space in the joint. Yep . So I’ll like not crack your knuckles in a , in just like to get the crack, but to try and to try and gap that joint. Just some blood flow. Yeah. Yeah. Just to open it up because often like say with what happened when I was with Kiron yeah . It compressed the finger compress . So it like bashes the two ends of like the two bones together. Yep . So I’m just pulling it in the opposite direction to create space. But when I’ve got it gapped and open , I’ll just go a little bit gentle side to side it’ll wiggle. Yeah . Yeah. Which can be gnarly and I’ll do it slowly. So I’m gaping and then moving. Yep . And then I’ll also throw in some massage and I’ll be honest. It’s really uncomfortable when you do that. Yeah . The tissues like you were saying, like, cuz there’s such small ligaments and stuff, they they’re kind of sharp when you feel. Yeah . Like they’re very painful. It is, but it’s, but you know, if you go through that and you do it and you spend sort of five minutes, it feels good. Again, it feels dramatically. Yeah. And , and it will reset and you’ll have to do it the next day. And , but I find that that process is really valuable. Definitely. And then the next step is, is , uh , once you’ve restored movement, like you feel like you can fully close your hand or you can put that weight in your toes depending on situation it’s once you’ve restored normal. What we say, you know, in inverted com is normal , uh , function, light load. This doesn’t mean just going back to jujitsu . I know we all just, oh , I just do that thing where I take my fingers together or I just mum find my foot tape . You know, this , this is actually not the answer, especially when it comes to , um , especially, you know , hands, depending on your job, we all need our hands to function. Essentially. Uh , light load is doing things like having your fingers in a rubber band and doing some light extension work in the same way. You might have like a little squishy toy or a tennis ball , a tennis ball is good, cause it’s a bit stronger and just practice doing a little bit of light squeezing. If you’re getting a joint pain, doing that, imagine going back to jujitsu and like trying to grip the gear again, that’s, that’s not the best way to go about it. So this is where I was saying to Joe, you know, maybe as you get older, maybe he just become a Nogi guy. <laugh> stop gripping that GE looks right . <laugh> stop, stop wrecking those fingers up. But uh, and then once we’re getting back to that full function piece, actually doing some finger strengthening through not just selection, but also extension this idea of opening out and taking a , like a little bit of load through the joint or CARF razors , hopping, putting a little bit of load through the feet. Like we always advocate training bare foot. Yeah . But for the best part, most people train in gyms where you have to wear shoes. Yeah . Shoes is the rule, but spending some time barefoot and taking some load through your toes appropriate reception is super key for your long term longevity. Cuz if you’ve got a bad toe and you can’t balance or you don’t put your weight, right. The chance of you falling over and doing a more serious is even higher. Mm-hmm <affirmative> absolutely. So guys, small joint injuries do not ignore them. This is, I think this do something, do something because like it’s not enough to just go, oh , it’s just my pinky finger or , oh , it’s just my little toe or whatever it’ll bug you for so long. I mean, I remember back in the day, was it mark? Phillip Persis ? Yep . Famous Australian tennis player had to pull out of the Australian open cuz he like stubbed his toe. Yeah . Or was it late and knew it , it was like, they stubbed their toe and I think it was in the shower. Yeah . And couldn’t play the Australian open and you’re like, man, come on. What’s wrong with you. But that’s the reality of it. Like you can get some really gnarly injuries and it’s just to this one little area and if you don’t just address it and try and make it better , it’ll just become that thing. That’s kind of constantly getting re-injured. Yes. And the beauty of it is I would say definitely with the hands is that you you’ve always got them close by. Yep . So you can, you know, I can be massaging my finger right now while we’re working. I can be squeezing on it. Like starting to, you know, get a bit of strength back in there. Maybe the feet’s a little bit different, but do that work definitely. Oh guys, thank you. Now, if you do get it an injury, we always recommend that you go and see a physiotherapist first. That is absolutely the number one thing you have to do before you do anything else. But then if you want help from there, come and speak to the Bulletproof of BJT boys . Oh my God guys, you can spot us in a couple ways. One, if you want help with your training, jump in our program or do teach you how to get strong, teach you how to get mobile Bulletproof of bjj.com take a free trial. You can see it all there. If you’re not into the training piece, you just love the show. We are now on Patreon. So you can jump over to our Patreon page. We’ve got a few different tiers to choose from and you can support us through that. 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