Common BJJ/MMA skin infections
Without going into too much detail on each one, I’ve compiled a short list on some of the more common infections you can pick up on the mat, whether it be Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, MMA, Wrestling or Judo…
Commonly and playfully referred to as ‘Aids’, Aids is something you can pick up if your equipment isn’t clean, your opponent doesnt wash too great, if there’s something going around or when (and this is the most common one) people walk on the mats with outdoor shoes on. You walk around outdoors stepping in God knows what and then you step on the mat – everything can be transferred.
Pride can sometimes take over which means if you DO have Aids, you may not want to tell people as you don’t want to be shamed out of the gym. Which rarely happens. But it does. Sometimes. OK, it never does but it WILL stop you from training from around a week to a few months if not taken care of quickly.
Aids can be found anywhere on the body. If you have it on you arm, you have arm Aids. on your leg, leg Aids. On your face, face Aids. And so on, I’m here to list the most common ones – not to compile a comprehensive list of where you can find such nasty Aids.
And before the questions start, I’ve had every one of these – except Staph. Which is pretty serious Aids.
I’ve actually got this Aids right now on my torso and back.
Most people who first start out doing grappling will find they’ll suffer from this from the excessive amounts of friction which can cause it to become uncomfortable when you’re hot. You may get it if you haven’t rolled in a while and suddenly come back to do hours upon hours a week *cough*
It’s caused by trapped sweat under the skin and is basically a yeast/fungal infection. It isn’t contagious as it’s caused by sweat and it isn’t bacterial or viral.
It takes the form of a small patch and if not treated straightaway, will get bigger. It’s slightly raised and rough. You may mistake it for dry skin at first. You’ll find that you might scratch away at it as it can get itchy, if this happens, put something on it to cool it down.
The easiest way to treat this is to find a anti-fungal cream or something with Hydrocortisone in it. Canestan works well but you may get funny looks from the pharmacist when buying it…
Ringworm is the most common Aids in grappling and some gyms may suffer an outbreak from time to time as it can commonly be mistaken for nothing important to address. It’s contagious so any sign of it must be reported back to your leader and you stay off the mat until told otherwise.
This beauty on the left started out as what I thought was an itchy spot on my arm and within a matter of hours had taken on it’s full on angry form.
It can be smooth, slightly raised in the middle with a rough ring round the edge. It may turn angry red like my friend on the left.
Because Ringworm is the same fungal infection as athletes foot, athletes foot medication will clear it up fairly fast. I recommend Lamisil Anti Fungal Spray. Every 2 hours and it should be gone within a week.
This is not what you girlfriend complains about all the time.
Cellulitis is where it starts to get into pretty serious Aids as it can develop into the scary, all avoided, Staph infection.
This is a bacterial infection which starts off as a small red dot which can be confused as a spot or an insect bite. You WILL try and pop it and it WILL hurt. Your limb will also take on the weight of an elephant and it WILL become quite painful to put any pressure on it.
It’ll go red and will feel quite warm and when you stick a fingernail into it, it will leave a slight indentation. I will NOT recommend heating up a needle and sticking it in. It hurts. It’ll also be itchy and increase in size via swelling.
You can’t get rid of this through over the counter medicine. You’ll need to go to the doctor for antibiotics (probably Flucloxacillin) and you WILL be off the mat for a little while.
Sorry for the capitals. But it’s pretty serious. Ignore my jokey nature.
This is one of the most serious Aids.
A bacterial infection which will pretty much eat through your muscles, it starts off as Cellulitis and can develop into what you see on your right (Kevin Randleman in 2007/2008).
It IS serious and you will HAVE to go to the hospital and doctors.
The easiest way to avoid such infections and skin ailments is to keep your gear clean. Wash your gi after every use and always shower after training. Don’t roll into bed and shower later, do it as soon as possible. Tell your training partners to do the same and make sure the mats at your gym are cleaned with disinfectant as often as possible.