Getting sidelined by an injury can be frustrating, costly, and set your training back for weeks or months. Working with qualified and knowledgeable professionals, like the trainers at FightCamp, dramatically reduces your risk of injury by teaching you proper form, technique, and recommended intensity. In this article, we'll look at the most common boxing injuries, how you can prevent them, and how to modify your training if you do experience them.
Most Common Boxing Injuries
Many of the most common boxing injuries occur during boxing competition in the ring, or when facing an opponent. These include facial lacerations and injuries and concussions. However, if you're boxing training at home, you are still susceptible to boxing-related injuries, especially if you are not practicing correct form, technique, and using improper equipment.
Boxing Training Injuries
Wrist, Hand, and Finger Injuries
What are wrist, hand, and finger injuries in boxing?
Hand injuries are the second most common type of injury in boxing for amateur and professionals alike (Loosemore et al.), and individuals boxing training at home may be at a high risk for these injuries due to improper technique, form, and equipment. Both in competition and when practicing at home on the heavy bag, missed strikes can lead to strains in the hand or wrist (Holland). Repetitive punching or striking can cause stress fractures, and incorrect form only increases the likelihood of injury.
How can you prevent wrist, hand, and finger injuries in boxing?
Use proper equipment to prevent injuries to the wrists, hands, and fingers during boxing training. Boxing hand wraps and gloves will offer your hands and wrists padding and protection, whether you're hitting the heavy bag or going up against an opponent in the ring. When training, take the time to learn the correct punching form and technique: for example, when landing a punch, allow the first two knuckles to lead and avoid twisting through the wrist. Finally, listen to your body: ease back on your boxing training if you feel any new or sharp pain in the hand or wrist. If you suspect you may have sustained an injury, have it checked by a medical professional as soon as possible.
How to modify boxing training for wrist, hand, and finger injuries
Minor strains and sprains require rest, ice, and protection. For more severe wrist, hand, and finger injuries, you may need a splint or cast. In any case, it's best to ease off or take a break from boxing training until fully healed. Striking with a broken wrist, hand, or finger will worsen the injury and only delay your recovery.
What are shoulder injuries in boxing?
A powerful strike starts from the feet, works its way up the kinetic chain, gathering power, and translates through the shoulder to the hand (Clarkson) (Mansfield). Because of this, boxers run the risk of sustaining rotator cuff strains or labral and rotator cuff tears. Over the long term, people who box can suffer chronic shoulder pain or conditions such as impingement or bursitis (Ruotolo).
How can you prevent shoulder injuries in boxing?
Punching with the correct form is critical. When boxing training at home, especially when you are just starting out, it's essential to learn proper boxing technique. The FightCamp Trainers teach you everything you need to know through step-by-step tutorials and workouts on the FightCamp App. For beginners, having the guidance of experienced professionals will ensure that you start out strong and properly educated.
On your own, you can also incorporate rotator cuff and scapular strengthening exercises in your training regimen. Having strong shoulder muscles can make all the difference when it comes to preventing shoulder injuries.
How to modify boxing training for shoulder injuries
Depending on the shoulder injury, you may need to scale back or pause boxing training entirely. Treatment options for impingement or bursitis may include reducing the intensity or frequency of your workouts. For rotator cuff strains and tears, you may need physical therapy to strengthen scapular muscles and minimize biomechanical stress through the shoulder. Follow your doctor’s recommendations and be careful to avoid movements that aggravate your shoulder pain for either injury.
Chronic Back and Neck Pain
What is chronic back and neck pain?
Low back pain is a prevalent condition amongst normal, non-athletic populations (NIH). Low back pain can be debilitating, whether it be from poor posture or weak core and glute muscles. For athletes and boxers, neck and back pain often comes from grappling, the impact of strikes, or a faulty fighting stance (Holland).
How can you prevent chronic back and neck pain?
Repetitive forces from training or fighting can stress body structures over time, but even more so with incorrect form and posture. Regardless of your experience level, but especially true for beginners, having the help of a professional coach or trainer is the best way to ensure you are using proper boxing technique and your movements are safe and biomechanically efficient.
When you are boxing at home, it can be difficult to know if you are training correctly, or if you're at risk for injury. The FightCamp App gives you access to boxing and kickboxing tutorials and workouts with our professional trainers so that you can learn how to box at home. Start out with the fundamentals, like proper fighting stance and positioning, and then work your way up to more complex movements, footwork, and eventually boxing punch combinations. First mastering the basics will help you avoid long-term and chronic injuries, such as neck and back pain.
How to modify boxing training for chronic back and neck pain
Prevention is key. To lessen the impact of chronic back and neck pain, you should focus on strengthening the core (abdominals and back), glute, and scapular musculature. A well-rounded training program with stretching and strengthening can prevent these injuries in the long run. Additionally, when working out with chronic back and neck pain, you should always be sure to include a warm-up and a cool down to ensure that your body is loose before intense exercise.
Boxing Injuries In The Ring
Competing in the sport of boxing is not for everyone. If you are just interested in boxing as a workout, these next injuries won't necessarily apply.
What are facial lacerations in boxing?
The most common injuries in the sport of boxing are facial cuts from being struck by another fighter (Bledsoe, Li and Levy).
How can you prevent facial lacerations in boxing?
Wearing proper headgear can prevent or reduce the severity of facial injuries. In your training regimen, schedule adequate rest. Sleeping fewer than 8 hours per night is shown to increase injury risk by up to 70% (Active and Safe). If you aren’t adequately rested, you won’t be adequately prepared to react and defend yourself against an opponent, increasing your risk of injury. Boxers also apply Vaseline or petroleum jelly to their faces and any areas that are susceptible to blows before fights to make the skin more elastic, slippery, and less likely to tear. This can also help slow bleeding if injury does occur.
How to modify boxing training for facial lacerations
Most cuts will heal on their own with minimal medical care. If you need sutures or suffer a more severe injury such as a broken nose, it's important to sit out and refrain from fighting or training until fully healed. Receiving a blow to compromised tissues will only make the damage worse.
What are facial injuries in boxing?
When facing an opponent, facial injuries are commonplace. More than three-quarters of facial injuries in boxing are minor cuts and superficial open wounds (Zazryn et al.). The tissues around the eye may swell and bruise from punches landing in the eye area (Inalsingh and Aberdeen). Less common facial injuries include broken noses, teeth, and jaws.
How can you prevent facial injuries in boxing?
Training at home with professionals like the trainers at FightCamp can also help sharpen your reflexes and improve your self-defense skills. During matches, always wear proper protective equipment, such as headgear. As mentioned above, applying petroleum jelly prior to a fight can help to prevent skin tears and excessive bleeding.
How to modify boxing training for facial injuries
It's critical to apply an ice pack or cool compress to swollen tissues as soon as possible. Keep any open wounds clean and monitor for signs of infection (redness around the cut, yellow discharge, etc.). Most superficial cuts will heal on their own with minimal medical care. For broken bones or lacerations that require stitches, wait to face opponents until fully healed and cleared by a medical professional.
What are concussions?
A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury occurring from a blow to the head. Depending on the severity of the trauma, you may or may not lose consciousness. Symptoms, such as loss of memory, confusion, drowsiness, and headache, may occur immediately or in the days after the injury. Severe or repeated concussions can lead to serious long-term consequences (Rezzadeh).
How can you prevent concussions in boxing?
Concussions usually only occur in boxing when you are facing an opponent. If you stick with at-home boxing training, your risk of concussions and trauma is minimal. In boxing competitions, concussions are much more common amongst amateur athletes, making up around 50% of their injuries (H.R.F.). Training and working with an experienced coach can improve your boxing technique and reduce your chances of sustaining a concussion. If you are planning to spar with an opponent or are just getting started in competitive boxing, be sure to use protective equipment such as headgear.
How to modify boxing training for concussions
Once you have a concussion, it's essential to hold off on boxing or physical activity until cleared by a medical professional. Even mild concussions can affect processing and attention for months (Hugenholtz, H et al.).
Prevent Injuries With Your Boxing Training At Home
FightCamp has all of the resources you need for your at-home boxing journey. Our knowledgeable trainers teach you step-by-step how to develop proper boxing form and technique so that you can minimize your risk of injury when boxing at home. We offer hundreds of boxing training videos and the best high-quality boxing equipment to keep you protected, prepared, and in fighting shape for life!
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