October 27, 2022 3 min read

Gabriel Ettenson, MS, PT / October 27, 2022

 

Boxing is a high-intensity sport that comes with a high risk of injury. In fact, according to a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, approximately 35-50% of boxers will sustain an injury during their career. So, what are the most common boxing injuries? And more importantly, how can they be prevented? Let's take a look.

 

  1. Shoulder and Bicep Injuries - Shoulder injuries alone account for approximately 15% of all boxing injuries. Add bicep injuries to the mix, and it’s closer to 20%. A combination of factors play a role in these injuries. According to Deontay Wilder’s boxing coach, Joey Scott, this is largely due to to the failure to warm these muscles up dynamically so they are firing as part of the entire upper extremity muscle system vs in isolation. Other professionals have suggested this also has to do with the highly repetitive nature of punching coupled with the weight of gloves. In either case, there is an immense strain on the shoulders and biceps which leads to injuries such as rotator cuff tears, a torn biceps tendon or even dislocated shoulders. To help prevent shoulder and bicep injuries, it's important to warm up properly before training or fighting and to avoid excessive training volume.
  2. Cuts and Lacerations- Cuts and lacerations are the most common type of boxing injury, accounting for approximately 25% of all injuries sustained by boxers. They typically occur when punches land on areas not protected by gloves, such as the eye sockets, nose, or chin. To help prevent cuts and lacerations, make sure to wear proper headgear that covers your entire face.
  3. Concussion - A concussion is a type of brain injury that can occur when a boxer is hit in the head with enough force to cause the brain to move around inside the skull. Concussions can lead to serious long-term health complications, so it's important to take steps to prevent them. Wearing proper headgear is the best way to protect yourself from concussions while boxing. In addition, always consult with a doctor if you think you may have suffered a concussion so that you can get the treatment you need.
  4. Carpal Bossing- Carpal bossing is a condition that results from repeated trauma to the hands from punching. It leads to swelling and deformity at the base of the thumb and can be quite painful. To help prevent carpal bossing, it's important to use appropriate hand wraps and gloves when punching and to take breaks as needed so that your hands can recover between training sessions.
  5. Boxer's Fracture - A Boxer's fracture is a break in one of the bones at the base of the thumb, the metacarpal bone. This type of fracture typically occurs when someone punches an object such as a heavy bag with an extended thumb.  

Wearing properly fitting gloves can help prevent Boxer's fractures by providing adequate support for the thumbs. Additionally, making sure not to extend your thumbs when punching will also help reduce your risk for this type of injury.

If you're involved in boxing, it's important to be aware of the most common injuries so that you can take steps to prevent them. By properly protecting yourself while training and fighting and being mindful of any pain or discomfort you experience, you can minimize your risk for sustaining an injury.

 


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