Wrestling Injuries are common in this sport. It seems like some years have more injuries than others.
I decided to write a post about wrestling injuries after my son injured his leg in his last Greco match at Fargo. His injury wasn’t significant, but was unable to wrestle Freestyle that day.
This article about wrestling injuries has turned into 3000+ word post that has been updated on a regular basis. Today I would like to talk about some of the common injuries in wrestling and how to prevent and treat common wrestling injuries.
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Common Wrestling Injuries
- Ligaments Strains and Tears
- General Wrestling Injuries
- Preventing Wrestling Injuries
- Additional Resources
- Stay Updated
Ligament Strains and Tears
It seems that a lot of wrestlers have to deal with ligament injuries. A ligament is a short band of tough, flexible, fibrous connective tissue that connects two bones at a joint. Wrestlers are always putting themselves in weird positions.
It seems like knees get injured more than anything else. It is a common wrestling injury to injure the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) as well as the Medial collateral ligament (MCL). According to Harvard Medical School, a torn ligament that is not taken care of can damage another ligament in your knee.
If you tend to sprain your knee on a regular basis, I would consider wearing a neoprene knee sleeve. A good knee sleeve will keep your knee compressed and your ligaments warm. The heat that is retained with the neoprene sleeve will promote healing and reduce swelling.
A lot of wrestlers will wear one on each knee. I recommend the Modvel Knee Sleeves. When I checked the reviews, over 55,000 people have purchased this sleeve and it has a rating of 4.5. In the reviews several people mentioned this sleeve was great for wrestling and mma.`
The shoulder is prone to dislocations. This causes an injury to the ligaments when a wrestler is slammed to the mat. The shoulder can also be injured when a wrestler gets his shoulder cranked on by a leg rider. My son was a heavyweight wrestler. As he got older, he had to pay special attention to his shoulder. Shoulder injuries can lead to surgery if not properly addressed.
Consider Shoulder Wraps
For wrestlers, a shoulder wrap becomes a vital ally in the journey towards healing and recovery. In the demanding world of wrestling, shoulder injuries are not uncommon, and a wrap steps in as a reliable companion for rehabilitation. This specialized support system plays a pivotal role by offering targeted assistance to the shoulder joint, minimizing unnecessary movement that could exacerbate existing injuries. Wrestlers dealing with sprains, strains, or nagging rotator cuff issues find solace in the stabilizing embrace of the wrap.
Beyond just stabilization, the compression from the brace will help hold in heat and increase blood flow, ensuring that the injured area receives the essential oxygen and nutrients needed for efficient tissue repair. The added benefit of warmth contributes to muscle relaxation, easing pain, and contributing to the reduction of inflammation. Whether recuperating from a tough match or addressing the wear and tear of rigorous training, a shoulder wrap tailored for wrestlers provides the ideal conditions for the body’s natural healing mechanisms to thrive, facilitating a swifter and more effective recovery.
Recommended Shoulder Wrap
if you are looking for a good wrap to wear while your wrestling, I would recommend the Suptrust Recovery Shoulder Brace. it has over 5,000 reviews with a rating of 4.3. The brace has several reviews from other wrestlers.
Ankle injuries are not as common as the knee and shoulder. This usually happens when a wrestler gets their ankle gets rolled in a scramble. The good news is most ankle injuries are minor and rarely require surgery.
Most of the best wrestling shoes have really good ankle support, but if you’re prone to ankle injuries, you might consider an ankle wrap or a brace. I would try to find a thin enough wrap that will fit inside your shoe and still give you the extra support.
An ankle wrap or brace serves as an invaluable tool to enhance the overall stability of the ankle. for me, my left ankle was always weak. I wore an ankle brace every time I stepped on the mat. A good ankle brace can provide a reliable defense against sprains, twists, and other common injuries. Most of ankle wraps or braces are too thick to fit inside the wrestling shoe and still wear a sock. I would recommend going to a retail store and try on different products until you find one that provides support and still allows you to wear socks.
Head and Face
I think injuries to the head and face are the second most common types of injuries in wrestling. The head and face are usually injured from blunt force trauma. The close-quarters combat, rapid movements, and intense grappling inherent in wrestling create a higher risk for accidental collisions and impacts. I’ve seen wrestlers break their nose, get cuts, as well as violent collisions with each other and on the mat.
It’s typical to see a bloody nose during a match. I think every wrestler has had cotton shoved up their nose at some point. While it is possible to get a broken nose, nose injuries are usually just simple nose bleeds. Luckily you get blood time if this happens so your coach or trainer can clean up the blood and try to stop bleeding so you can finish your match. Wrestling with a bloody nose is a common challenge that athletes may encounter during a match.
If you have a broken nose, you can wear a wrestling face mask until your nose heals. While the mask can aid in safeguarding the injured nose from unintended contact, reducing the risk of further damage during a match, it also poses potential challenges. Wresting with a mask can be tough, but sometimes its the only way to keep competing.
Consider a Face Guard
Cliff Keen has sold a face guard for a very long time. I’ve seen other products, but they don’t look like they do a great job of protecting the nose. If you buy the face guard, just know it doesn’t come with a chin strap.
This is one of the most common wrestling injuries, but it does happen occasionally. Every year I see several wrestlers with concussions. These usually occur from throws or head on collisions. Recognizing the symptoms of a concussion is crucial for athletes, coaches, and officials. Symptoms may include dizziness, confusion, headaches, and memory loss.
Wrestlers are encouraged to prioritize safety by reporting any signs of a possible concussion promptly. The best advice I can give you is to get some rest. Not allowing a concussion to heal before going back to completion can lead to further brain injury. This means refraining from participating in any wrestling activities, physical exertion, or mentally demanding tasks that could exacerbate symptoms or prolong the healing process.
Don’t step back on the mat until you are cleared by a medical professional. Coaches, trainers, and support staff play a vital role in monitoring and guiding you recovery process. You might consider concussion supplements to help heal your concussion quicker.
This is one of the most common injuries in wrestling. This happens when the ear is repeatedly hit. This causes blood to pool up(hematoma) where the injury has occurred. After you get hematomas, it takes 7-10 days for the ear to harden. Most wrestlers consider cauliflower ear a badge of honor.
The first step in treating cauliflower ear is to address any acute swelling or hematoma by applying a cold compress or ice pack to the affected ear. If the ear is drained before the blood hardens, you can reduce and maybe prevent most cauliflower wrestling injuries. It’s crucial to avoid draining the fluid at home, as improper drainage can lead to infection.
Most long-time wrestlers consider cauliflower ear to be part of the sport. Consistent use of headgear during practices and competitions can minimize the risk of developing cauliflower ear.
I’ve been reading how some people use magnets to treat cauliflower ear and reduce swelling. The use of magnets to treat cauliflower ear is a practice that some individuals explore, although its effectiveness is a topic of debate. Some proponents suggest that the magnetic field may have therapeutic benefits in facilitating the resolution of hematoma and swelling associated with cauliflower ear. I don’t have any experience do this. Feel free to comment if you have used this method to treat cauliflower ear.
Skin infections are a prevalent concern in the world of wrestling due to the close and constant skin-to-skin contact among athletes. Conditions like ringworm, impetigo, and herpes simplex virus (HSV) can spread easily in wrestling environments. It seems like every year my son wrestled, he was battling skin infections.
The warm and humid conditions of wrestling rooms create an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. Wrestlers should prioritize good hygiene practices, including regular showers with antibacterial soap, laundering of gear after each use, and avoiding sharing personal items. Prompt identification of skin abnormalities and immediate medical attention are crucial to prevent the spread of infections within the wrestling community.
Coaches and athletes alike play a pivotal role in enforcing stringent hygiene protocols, which not only protect individuals but also contribute to maintaining the overall health and safety of the wrestling community. Regular skin checks, education on infection prevention, and adherence to recommended cleaning practices are essential components of a comprehensive strategy to mitigate the risk of skin infections in wrestling.
This may sound strange, but I’ve always used head and shoulder shampoo to ward off skin infections. I’ve also bought defense soap for my son.
General Wrestling Injuries
This section covers general injuries that can occur in wrestling. These types of wrestling injuries tend to be pulled muscles, bruises or broken bones.
Wrestlers are constantly pulling muscles in their back and legs. I think the common reasons for muscle pulls are overuse, dehydration, and lack of stretching. The strenuous nature of wrestling, characterized by intense physical exertion and sudden, dynamic movements, makes athletes susceptible to these injuries. Overuse, a consequence of the repetitive and demanding nature of the sport, can strain muscles over time. Dehydration further compounds the risk, as the body’s muscles become more prone to injury when not adequately hydrated. Additionally, a lack of proper stretching before and after bouts can contribute to muscle pulls, emphasizing the importance of comprehensive physical preparation for wrestlers to enhance their resilience and minimize the likelihood of such injuries.
You should consider strength training if you have particular muscles that get pulled regularly. Regular strength training can contribute to improved muscle resilience and reduce the likelihood of future strains. Additionally, incorporating targeted exercises into your regimen can enhance overall muscle stability and balance, providing a protective layer against potential injuries.
In conjunction with strength training, you can take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as naproxen or ibuprofen to alleviate pain and manage inflammation associated with muscle pulls. Furthermore, incorporating the application of ice packs into your recovery routine can be beneficial, as they help to reduce swelling and promote a faster healing process. Integrating these strategies into your fitness and recovery plan can contribute to a more robust and sustainable approach to addressing and preventing muscle pulls in the long run.
Wrestling is a combat sport and bruises happen when wrestlers are thrown to the mat or land on each other. While bruises may be a common consequence, they stand as visual testaments to the tenacity and resilience required in the world of wrestling, where athletes willingly embrace the physical toll of their battles on the mat. Wrestlers should prioritize adequate hydration and a nutrient-rich diet to support the body’s natural healing processes.
Applying a cold compress or ice pack to the affected area can help minimize swelling and reduce pain. Webmd wrote a good article on helping heal a bruise. While it talks about the R.I.C.E. method, the article also talks about ointments and vitamin K1 to speed up the healing. If your looking for a good ice pad, Resters Choice sells a large ice pad that can be used for both ice or heat.
As the bruise progresses, transitioning to warm compresses or heating pads can enhance blood circulation, promoting faster healing. Additionally, topical arnica or bruise-specific ointments may facilitate recovery.
Broken bones in wrestling are rare, but it does happen. When a wrestler breaks a bone, it tends to be the arm, ankle, or shin. Wrestlers should refrain from attempting to continue competing if they suspect a broken bone.
Instead, seeking prompt medical evaluation and imaging, such as X-rays, can provide a clear diagnosis and guide appropriate treatment. Immobilizing the injured limb with a splint or brace may be necessary to prevent further damage and promote proper healing.
Preventing Wrestling Injuries
Wrestling is a physically demanding sport. While injuries are common in wrestling, there are things you can do to prevent injuries.
Sometimes a wrestling injury can’t be avoided. At that point, you will need to decide whether to take some time off or continue wrestling.
Stay off the Mat! Try to Rest and Let an Injury Heal
Any injury should be evaluated by a trainer and/or a doctor. The first course of action should be to take some time off and allow your injury to heal. If you are injured, you might make your injury worse by continuing to compete.
Regardless of how trivial the wrestling injury is, it should be treated as soon as possible after having it evaluated by the trainer and other medical staff. Overtraining syndrome is a frequent occurrence among athletes who don’t allow their body to heal. In most cases, rest is all that is needed for the injury to heal by itself.
Resting for a couple of days is enough to treat muscle soreness. Most minor injuries don’t take more than a week to heal. Not allowing the body to heal properly might make the injury worse and keep an athlete out of competition. Fortunately, the most common injuries in wrestling are quite similar to those experienced in other sports and can be safely treated with the R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) method.
R.I.C.E. is often used as the first treatment for ligament sprains, muscle strain, and other minor bruises and injuries. If used correctly for the first 24 to 48 hours after a wrestling injury, it can actually reduce swelling, ease out the pain, and promote flexibility in a cost-effective and straightforward way.
Strength and Resistance training can Prevent Future Injuries
How strength training prevents injuries: The utilization of strength or resistance training can effectively reduce the risk of damage as it works on correcting different muscle group imbalances. In physiological terms, resistance training puts a dynamic load on the various joints, therefore inducing physiological alterations in the muscle, bone, and connective tissues that include ligaments and tendons.
Types of strength training for injury prevention: From mere warmups and stretching to intense cardio, everything comes into play when we are talking about injury preventive methods. As far as strength/resistance training is concerned, the right combination of using machine weights, free weights, and bodyweight exercises should get the job done.
Exercises You can Do
Possible exercises you can do: Among machine weights, using the hydraulics, resistance rods, and bands, machines with weight stacks can be changed to adjust the intensity of the exercise, which should get the full range of movement that is necessary to prepare the muscles properly. Using free weights like medicine balls, kettlebells, weight lifting chains, etc. can be applied to offer resistance at different points along the range of motion to various muscles to make them less prone to a wrestling injury.
Bodyweight exercises, however, effective may be, offer less flexibility and limits the activities larger athletes can perform. The path and range of motion of exercises such as pull-ups, push-ups, plyometrics, sprinting, and abdominal workouts are not controlled by a machine, so proper form is necessary for them to be effective. The gym trainer’s opinion is crucial for wrestlers who want to prepare themselves to avoid future injuries.
Increase your flexibility to prevent injuries
Wrestling is a demanding sport where athletes who have more flexibility enjoy an advantage over others. Being flexible can help wrestlers to be successful on the mat. Wrestlers should make stretching a part of the regular training regime. Excellent flexibility improves your chance of preventing an injury.
Wrestlers can develop their flexibility in simple ways by doing a combination of static and dynamic stretches with the right amount of repetitions. Static stretches that help the muscles and joints loosen up can physically and mentally prepare the athlete for a wrestling match. Stretching different parts of the body like thighs, calves, shoulders, neck, and lower back can do wonders to prevent injuries. Dynamic workouts such as free or stationary knee hugs, leg swings, side to side lunges, open hips, and arm exercises and also vital.
If you have to wrestle with an injury
As I said before, you should rest if you have an injury. Sometimes there is no other way but to continue wrestling with an injury. If you are injured and have to wrestle, you should take every precautionary measure possible to prevent further damage. This includes consulting with a medical professional to assess the severity of the injury and determine a safe course of action.
Wrestlers can consider modifications to their training routine or competition strategy to minimize strain on the injured area. Employing protective gear, such as braces or wraps, can provide additional support and stability. Communication with coaches and teammates is crucial, ensuring that everyone is aware of the injury and can offer support or adjust training accordingly. Wrestlers should also prioritize thorough warm-ups and cooldowns, incorporating targeted stretches to maintain flexibility and reduce the risk of exacerbating the injury.
While competing with an injury is a challenging reality in wrestling, a thoughtful and cautious approach can contribute to both short-term success and long-term well-being on the mat.
Additional Resources on Wrestling Injuries
We have spent several hundred hours researching researching, writing and updating this article. We have used numerous resources to make this the best article on wrestling injuries. Here are some additional resources that we feel can help you stay healthy and continue wrestling.
Books about Mental Toughness
Mental Toughness For Young Athletes – Wrestling is the toughest sport on the planet. This is a sport that requires mental toughness… on and off the mat. During my research, I came across this book on Amazon. The author wrote the book to help young athletes deal with confidence and and anxiety. This book is worth the read to help you and your kid navigate the journey becoming an elite athlete. If you have Kindle Unlimited, this book is free.
Books about Sports Injuries
Rebound: Train Your Mind to Bounce Back Stronger from Sports Injuries – This book was written by Carrie Jackson Cheadle M.A. CMPC, who is a leading mental skills coach and a contributing writer to Runner’s World. She is also a popular source for media and has been quoted an an expert resource for publications such as Outside Magazine, Shape Magazine, Men’s Fitness, Women’s Health, Runner’s World, Women’s Running Magazine, Bicycling Magazine, New York Times, and HuffingtonPost. This is book is a practical guide to building the mental skills athletes need to recover from injury and rebound stronger.
Best Selling Sports Medicine Books – During my research, I came across a lot of books on sport medicine. If you are interested in learning about sports medicine and keeping your wrestler healthy, then this is a good starting point. There are numerous books on injury prevention, strength training, nutrition, etc…
Fastest Ways to Heal a Sports Injury: A Medical Perspective – While this article talks about the standard methods for injury recovery, the author also writes about nutrition, range of motion therapy, and vitamins to heal as quickly as possible. This article was written by Dr Gowreeson Thevendran. He is an orthopedic sports surgeon at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital.
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