Talk about a sport taking a physical toll! We’re quite used to baseball players having shoulder problems. Bad knees in soccer players are no big headline. But what is an injury most specific to BJJ? Let me make this a little bit clearer. What is an injury most specific to Gi BJJ? Yeah, the whole body gets a beating and you might be hard-pressed to find an answer if you’ve been enjoying the Gentle Art (pun intended) in the Gi longer than 3 years. However, the moment you try and type back an answer you’ll get on – the fingers. Gi player’s fingers are so destroyed they literally have to be held together by BJJ finger tape.
As every Gi player (and Judoka, for that matter) can testify, grappling after a few years is impossible without the heavy use of BJJ finger tape. Whether it is used on a certain finger, joints, a few fingers or all of them you’ll see it everywhere. It is so prevalent that people sometimes mistake it for a fashion statement. However, arthritis is a real problem in the BJJ world and tape sure provides a way to deal with it. At least in the short term.
What Happens To The Fingers?
People that train exclusively (or just often) in Jiu-Jitsu Gi, base their game around gripping the material very much. Sleeve grips, pant grips, lapel grips, belt grips, you name it. Every part of the Gi is fair game and people use it to the maximum to get an advantage. Gi manufacturers even try to make sturdier Gis make gripping them harder. This results in peoples’ fingers cracking and snapping all over. Before long, you’re taping your fingers together just to be able to train.
The repeated trauma of constant pressure on the joint, as well as frequent minor dislocations, is a great recipe for arthritis. The joints primarily swell up, with inflammation being the body’s preferred answer to the inflicted trauma. Inflammation is caused by the constant tugging and pulling that puts enormous strain on the finger joints. This constant inflammation and trauma result in the reduction of cartilage in the joints, which is the definition of arthritis.
Arthritis, or osteoarthritis, is a degenerative joint disease, in the case of BJJ caused by constant, gradual wear-and-tear. The condition may include the formation of bone spurs, bony enlargements, and profuse ligament and tendon damage. The end result – pain. And by pain, I mean constant pain that’s greatly exacerbated by gripping again and again with sore fingers. This is where BJJ finger tape comes in.
What is BJJ Finger Taping?
BJJ finger taping is the practice of wrapping your fingers with tape to protect them from injury and discomfort during training and competition. It involves wrapping the tape tightly around your fingers, leaving the knuckles and joints exposed for flexibility.
There are several types of finger tape available for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners, and each type of tape has its own unique features and benefits, so it’s essential to find the one that works best for you.
Proper BJJ finger taping is crucial for BJJ practitioners to prevent finger injuries and preserve joint health. It’s also an effective way to enhance your grip and support during training and competition.
With the right technique and products, you can enjoy a long and injury-free career in this exciting and challenging sport.
Why Tape Your Fingers for BJJ?
Firstly, finger injuries are common in BJJ, and they can be excruciatingly painful. Finger taping provides added support to your fingers, making them more resistant to injuries such as sprains, dislocations, and fractures. Taping can also help prevent cuts and bruises on your fingers, which can result from gripping your opponent’s gi or skin.
Secondly, BJJ finger taping can reduce inflammation and soreness. The constant pressure and gripping in BJJ can cause inflammation in the joints, which can lead to soreness and pain. Taping your fingers can help to stabilize the joints, reducing the risk of inflammation and pain.
Thirdly, taping your fingers can help to preserve joint health. Over time, the constant pressure and gripping in BJJ can lead to joint damage and arthritis. Proper finger taping can help to keep your joints stable and healthy, reducing the risk of chronic conditions.
Lastly, proper BJJ finger taping can help prolong your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu career. By reducing the risk of finger injuries and preserving joint health, you can continue to train and compete at a high level for longer. Playing positions like spider guard becomes a lot easier when your fingers are nice and secure. In fact, BJJ finger tape is now an essential part of grapplers’ Jiu-Jitsu gear.
Best Finger Tape On The Market
Finger tapping for BJJ starts with one very important step – choosing the best tape available to you. You’d be surprised how much pain you can spare yourself if you start using BJJ finger tape as soon as you notice the first signs of arthritis. So let’s take a look at a few solid tape products available on the market:
This tape is a bit on the thicker side, but as you’ll see later on, this might be just what you’re looking for. It is 3/4” wide and very strong, thanks to the thickness. A great aspect of this tape is that it stretches quite a bit. This is mostly due to the material. The Magic Finger tape is an innovative combination of Latex and Rubber, offering unique properties. The tape has an impressively tight seal, even in very sweaty conditions. It’s simple in terms of design and colors, but the top class in terms of providing the service it is intended for. Available in bright green.
This is one of the thickest tapes available, standing at 1 and 1/2” wide. Very useful for wrapping larger areas, such as toes, or for the buddy-system. A great caveat of this tape is its price – it is the cheapest on this list. It holds really well and also provides an additional gripping surface. On a slightly negative note, it’s is short and does not last long when used constantly. However, this is often solved by the length of the tape which comes at a staggering 40 yards.
The material of the Johnson And Johnson BJJ finger tape is rubber, making it perfect for grapplers. It is going to keep your joints stable while also providing enough flexibility for efficient gripping. The fabric is breathable and does not retain moisture. Comes in white color and is made in the US. One pack of the tape contains four BJJ finger tape rolls.
A 15-yard roll with a 0.3-inch width is always a good starting point in the search for the optimal BJJ finger tape. It has a high thread count and will last for a long time. It’s not too thick, which makes it great for wrapping the joints of the smaller fingers. It performs admirably under the harsh conditions of sparring, holding impressively. It’s made of “low slipping” material which gives it its tight holding properties. The secret behind TapTape’s success is the high thread count of the tape. This makes it next to impossible to tear it once you put it in place. It also means unraveling is not an option. It is very easy to apply and even easier to remove, which is often not the case with sturdy finger tapes.
This is as minimalist BJJ finger tape as they get. Personally, I find this to be a huge benefit. It comes in very simple packaging and only in the color black. No wonder it is one of the favorites of grapplers worldwide. It’s a non-elastic tape providing maximum compression and great tension. It’s sturdier than the others on this list making it the best choice for immobilization of joints. It provides great value for the price since it comes with two rolls of tape in the package.
The material is 100% cotton, which is great for those with sensitivity to Latex. The adhesive is extra strong and also has water-resistant properties. The tape also provides enhanced breathability, even when completely covered in sweat. It has very little elasticity as it is meant to provide massive support of the joints instead. Maximum compression is guaranteed.
The “Armadillo Skin” BJJ Finger Tape is an ultra-strong tape for grappling, made entirely of cotton. The tape has dimensions of 0.3 in x 15 yds per roll, with a total of 6 rolls included in one pack. This tape has one of the best prices for such a “bulk” buy. The Armadillo has the incredible property of being easy to tear with your fingers as you’re setting it up, but able to stay snug when you tape it around your finger joints. The adhesive is very high-grade, allowing maximal support while not leaving any residue after you take it off. Completely latex-free, available in white.
1st Elite is a brand that has athletes covered in all possible areas. In terms of finger tape, they offer a very high-quality product. Once again, it is a 100% cotton product, entirely Latex-free. Their new and improved adhesive is made of Zinc Oxide, making it extremely friendly to your skin. Even people with sensitive skin and certain skin conditions can freely use this tape without any adverse effects.
The non-porous tape is remarkable when it comes to staying put. The adhesive is very strong, yet is easily removable once you’re done. The dimensions are 1.5′ x 10-yard rolls, and one pack has an amazing 32 rolls! A bit wider than most, but it does give you the option to cut according to needs, or tapes up larger body parts, like feet, ankles, and wrists. The tape comes with guaranteed satisfaction. This includes a 100% money back or replacement warranty.
With the Power splint tape, you get a pack of three tapes, each 1/3 inch wide. This one is perfect for grapplers because it is thin and incredibly strong. Plus, one roll is 44 yards long, make Power Splint the longest BJJ finger tape available! It is really easy to tear and put on, as well as discard after use. Still, it is one of the tightest fitting finger tapes ever, and no amount of Gi rolling or competing is ever going to affect it. The full range of motion is guaranteed.
The Gold BJJ Finger tape is a strong grappling tape sized 1/2″ x 30′. It is perfect for finger protection in any kind of grappling martial art. The tape is available in three different packs, each containing a different number of rolls. Namely, you can get 3,6 or 12 rolls per package.
The tape’s adhesive is strong and intended to stay put specifically during grappling. Each roll is 10 yards long, meaning that you can get a lot of tapes, depending on the package option you choose. Original technology means that the tape won’t budge under any circumstances, including moisture. The thickness of this tape is also a great caveat as it allows you to tape different joints, as opposed to only your fingers. perfect for tapping toes.
The final member of our list of the Best BJJ Finger tape is the Deathgrip Grappling tape made by TapTape. This one is specifically designed for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Dimensions are 3.9 x 3.9 inches and there are 5 rolls per package. The package and the tape are ultra-simple, working exceptionally well rather than looking good. The Tape comes in black color. Once again, it is sweat resistant, an extra-strong adhesive that’s sensitive skin-friendly. Completely Latex-free (100% cotton) with a very high thread count. The tape is made in the US.
How To Use BJJ Finger Tape
Now that tape selection is out of the way, let’s look at the methods that’ll keep your fingers from falling apart. We already covered using the best tape available in order to avoid bad support or unwinding of the wraps. The next rule of thumb is to use a lot. Do not be afraid to commit to taping your fingers tight. In those terms, layers are more important than single strips. The reason is simple. BJJ finger tape seals better against itself than the skin of the fingers. And lastly, do not overtighten the tape. If you restrict circulation you’ll only make things worse, so provide support without cutting blood flow off.
For me, X-taping is the method of choice. It provides me with great support while allowing the fingers as much mobility as possible. It is very durable and much tighter than single joint BJJ finger taping. The X pattern allows the wrapping to support itself along with the fingers.
The X-taping pattern requires long pieces of tape, which is what must be considered when choosing a tape. The wrap starts on the side of a knuckle and after a couple of circles around it goes on to the other side crossing over the palm side of the joint. After a few more circles it goes back forming the X.
2. Тhe Buddy System
Buddy taping is the best method to support really bad finger joints. It can be used with both single joint control, or X-taping as the base. In simple terms, the buddy system means you tape two of your fingers to one another. This provides extra support, much like a sling does for a broken bone.
Despite being the preferred method for competitors, this is the safest method to use for rolling as well. The small finger is a great example of a disaster waiting to happen. It gets caught inside a sleeve or pants so often that it can get really painful really fast. As such, buddy BJJ finger taping can keep it as safe as possible. Kurt will show you the way how:
3. Restrictive Taping
This method is great to tightly immobilize fingers. It’s intended to allow injured fingers to heal, rather than provide both support and mobility for chronically hurt ones. The problem with immobilizing only one finger or toe is that it makes it easier to get caught in a Gi. The best advice is to stay off the mats until the pain subsides and then use x-taping and/or the buddy system.
If you’re intent on training with a fresh injury, though, your best bet is to use restrictive BJJ finger taping and enforce it with the buddy system.
4. Taping The Thumb
The thumb presents a real challenge when it comes to tape. As such, in the events of a thumb injury, the above approach of staying away from the mats is by far your best option. It is extremely easy to re-injury the thumb by getting it caught up in the Gi. If your thumb is no longer in pain and you can train with it, then be ready to use a lot of tape. Also, make time for taping is as it is not easy.
Here’s a great video showing you how to do it:
Tips for Using BJJ Finger Tape
Properly taping your fingers for Jiu-Jitsu is essential for getting the most out of your BJJ training and competition. Here are some tips and tricks for using athletic tapes effectively:
- Store your tape properly: Store your tape in a cool, dry place to prevent it from becoming too sticky or losing its adhesive properties.
- Replace your tape regularly: Replace your tape regularly to ensure that it’s providing optimal support and grip. Tapes can lose their adhesive properties or become worn out with use, making them less effective.
- Apply tape properly: Apply tape in a way that provides optimal support and grip. Make sure to wrap the tape tightly around your finger, leaving the knuckles and joints exposed for flexibility.
- Remove tape safely: Remove tape carefully to avoid causing skin irritation or discomfort. Use a tape cutter to cut the tape off cleanly without pulling at your skin. Wash off the sticky residue as soon as possible.
- Consider other products: Consider using other products in conjunction with finger tape to enhance your grip and support. Finger braces, hand wraps and grip enhancers can provide additional support and grip for your fingers.
BJJ Fingers: How to Prevent and Treat Common Injuries and Conditions
If you practice combat sports, (or even other sports, such as rock climbing) you know how important your fingers are for gripping, grappling and defending. You also know how painful and frustrating it can be when you get an injured finger. In this section, we will explain some of the common injuries and conditions that affect BJJ fingers, and how to prevent and treat them effectively.
Common Jiu-Jitsu Finger Injuries and Conditions
Some of the most common BJJ finger injuries and conditions are:
- Sprains and strains: These are injuries to the ligaments and tendons that connect the bones and muscles of the fingers. They can occur when you twist, bend or pull your fingers too hard or too fast, or when you get caught in a submission or a grip. Sprains and strains can cause swelling, bruising, stiffness and pain in the affected finger.
- Fractures and dislocations: These are injuries to the bones and joints of the fingers. They can occur when you hit, crush or bend your fingers with a lot of force, or when you fall on your hand or wrist. Fractures and dislocations can cause severe pain, deformity, numbness and loss of function in the affected finger.
- Arthritis: This is a condition that causes inflammation and degeneration of the cartilage and bone of the finger joints. It can occur as a result of chronic wear and tear, overuse, injury or infection. Arthritis can cause pain, stiffness, swelling and reduced range of motion in the affected finger.
How to Prevent BJJ Finger Injuries and Conditions
The best way to prevent bjj finger injuries and conditions is to take care of your fingers before, during and after training. Here are some preventive measures and best practices to follow:
- Warm up properly: Before you start training, make sure to warm up your fingers with some gentle stretches and movements. This will increase blood flow, lubricate the joints and prepare the muscles for action.
- Stretch regularly: After you finish training, make sure to stretch your fingers again with some gentle twists and bends. This will release tension, improve flexibility and prevent stiffness.
- Strengthen your fingers: You can also do some exercises to improve finger strength by working on your muscles and tendons. For example, you can squeeze a stress ball, do finger push-ups or use a hand gripper. This will increase endurance, stability and power in your fingers.
- Use protective BJJ gear: One of the most effective ways to prevent BJJ finger injuries and conditions is to use protective gear such as BJJ finger taping. Taping fingers BJJ can help support, stabilize, and protect your fingers from damage. You can use different types of tape for Jiu-Jitsu depending on your preference and needs. For example, you can use armadillo skin finger tape for extra durability and comfort, or gold BJJ tape for extra flexibility and a strong grip.
Finger taping is an essential aspect of BJJ training that can make a significant difference in your performance and longevity in the sport. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or just starting out, taking proper care of your fingers should be a top priority. By using high-quality finger tape and following the tips and techniques outlined in this article, you can prevent injury, maintain joint health, and improve your grip strength and technique.
With so many different BJJ finger taping options available on the market, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one for your needs. However, by considering factors such as adhesive strength, flexibility, and sweat resistance, you can find the perfect finger tape that works for you.
Ultimately, the benefits of BJJ finger taping far outweigh the minor inconvenience of applying and removing the tape. By taking the time to properly tape your fingers and care for your hands, you’ll be able to enjoy BJJ training for years to come. Remember to always listen to your body and consult a medical professional if you experience any pain or discomfort during training.