If you’re a BJJ practitioner, you know that mat burn is an occupational hazard. While it’s not always avoidable, there are ways to treat and prevent it from happening in the first place. And if you do end up with mat burn, there are a few things you can do to treat it and speed up the healing process. So next time you hit the mats, don’t let mat burn ruin your training!
In this article, we will discuss what mat burn is, how to treat it, and how to prevent it from happening altogether.
What is mat burn?
Mat burn, also known as rug burn, carpet burn or friction burn, is a type of friction burn that can occur when your skin comes into contact with a mat or other surface. It is typically characterized by redness, pain, and irritation. While it is not a serious condition, it can be quite uncomfortable.
Mat burn can be painful, but it is not dangerous as long as the wound does not get infected. This is especially important to keep in mind if you are a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner, as there are several common skin infections associated with the sport.
Mat burn is almost always a first-degree burn and is usually red or dark brown in appearance and can be very painful.
What causes mat burn?
Mat burn is caused by friction. When your skin rubs against a mat or other surface, it can cause the top layer of skin to become irritated and inflamed. This can happen if you’re not properly protected from the mat, such as when you’re wearing shorts that are too short or a rashguard that doesn’t cover your entire body. It can also happen if you’re sweating a lot, as this can make your skin more susceptible to friction.
This friction happens when the skin on your feet comes into contact with the Jiu-Jitsu mats. The mats are usually made with faux leather. People who are starting out in Jiu-Jitsu usually have this problem more often because they don’t know how to move properly yet. They usually start out fighting mostly on their knees, so they tend to drag their feet across the mat which then causes a burn on their skin. A lot of beginners use wraps around their feet or socks to avoid scraping the scabs off.
With experience, practitioners often spend more time on their butts (to play guard) or standing (to pass the guard), resulting in lesser mat burns.
These burns usually cause a red, painful mark on the skin. The skin often becomes ulcerated and broken, which can lead to infection. The injury usually causes a dark, pinkish crust on the skin that heals over time.
However, you can still get a mat burn even if you are a good Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner. You need to take care of the burn and also prevent it from happening.
Does mat burn go away?
Rug burn is usually minor and heals on its own within a week without scarring. Depending on the severity of rug burn, however, the injury may leave a permanent scar or slight discoloration.
Common areas of mat burn
Mat burn can occur anywhere on your body that comes into contact with the mat, but it is most common on the knees, elbows, palms, feet, and other joints exposed to friction with the mat. This is because these areas of the body are more likely to come into direct contact with the mat when you’re rolling or wrestling.
How to prevent mat burn?
There are a few things you can do to prevent mat burn from happening in the first place. First, make sure that you’re properly protected from the mat by wearing clothing that covers your entire body. This includes spats and a long sleeve rashguard. Second, try to keep your skin dry by wiping away any sweat with a towel. Finally, use a mat cleaner or disinfectant to clean your mat before you train. This will help to remove any bacteria or other contaminants that could cause irritation.
How to treat mat burn?
Remember, if you do end up with mat burn, don’t panic! There are a few things you can do to treat it and speed up the healing process.
- Cool The Burn With Cold Water: The best way to treat a mat burn is to run cold water over it for 15 minutes. Remember, a mat burn is a real first-degree burn, so you should treat it the same way as you would any other burn wound.
- Disinfect The Wound: If you get a skin infection, use an antibacterial cream to help prevent the infection from getting worse. If the infection gets worse, the wound will heal much more slowly.
- Apply Burn Cream: If you don’t own a rash guard, consider using a good burn cream (for example, one with aloe vera) on the region before training or competition. A person may have a severe case of mat burn that does not improve after a few days in some situations. In this instance, see your doctor since no burn cream will treat the condition.
Other methods of prevention and treatment are as follows:
It is best to prevent mat burn from happening in the first place. There are several things you can do to avoid this problem.
Keeping your skin clean and hydrated can prevent many Jiu Jitsu injuries. Hydration is important because it makes your skin more elastic and resistant to friction damage. It is also a good idea to keep an eye on your skin. This way, if you see any small lesions, you can treat them before they become a bigger problem.
To prevent excessive friction in your mats and the nasty complications of mat burn, keep them clean. Scrub or wipe your mat gently with a cleaning agent, or water and soap if possible. Remember to also keep your training area clean! This is part of being a disciplined martial artist.
Cover Your Skin
Wear spats and a rashguard under your gi. If your feet are being burned more often, wear socks or tape. If it’s your face that burns, try asking your rolling partners to go easier on you.
Stop When It Burns
If you see a reddish or pinkish spot on your skin or your partner’s skin during a BJJ training session, stop training. This is an early sign of mat burn. Also, take into account pimples, blisters and razor burn since these make the skin more likely to get mat burn.
It is important to avoid touching the wound directly. You should use sterile gloves from a first-aid kit if you have them. If you don’t have gloves, you should wash your hands with soap and water.
Adjust Your Style of Rolling
It’s also possible to prevent mat burn by changing the way you roll. The most common reason for matburn is friction, with elbows, knees, and the top of the feet being the most afflicted areas. Try not to slide your elbows, knees, or feet over the surface of the mat.
2) Tape It Up
It’s possible to get back to training more quickly if you know how to tape mat burn. Follow these procedures to apply tape to a burn on the mat.
NEVER APPLY ATHLETIC TAPE DIRECTLY TO THE WOUND
Always put a band-aid over the wound and then tape over that. If you tape the band-aid directly to the wound, it will tear open when you take the tape off. Make sure to use quality athletic tape or KT tape for BJJ.
3) Try Liquid Bandage
If the afflicted area is small enough, you might want to consider a liquid bandage instead of a bandage and tape. Liquid bandages stay put far longer than conventional bandages and don’t irritate the mat burn.
4) Try Using Pads or Wear Long Sleeves
In most cases, taping mat burns does not work because it is hard to tape the area. However, you can use elbow pads, knee pads, or a rash guard or spats (depending on the location of the mat burn) as an alternative.
How to tape mat burn?
If you’re looking for a more long-term solution, you can try taping the affected area. This will help to protect the area from further irritation and allow it to heal. To do this, simply apply a layer of athletic tape over the affected area. Make sure that the tape is not too tight, as this could cause further irritation.
What if my mat burn doesn’t heal?
If your mat burn does not heal within a few days or if it gets worse, you should see a doctor.
If you follow all of the steps outlined in this article, your mat burn should be gone entirely in 1 to 2 weeks. If your mat burn won’t heal, it’s possible that you have a skin infection. Because some of the symptoms of skin infections (itchiness, pain, redness) may resemble those experienced during the healing process of a mat burn, detecting an infection is sometimes difficult. If your mat burn isn’t healing after two weeks, you might want to see a doctor.
While mat burn is not a serious condition, it can sometimes lead to other problems such as infection. So if you’re concerned about your mat burn, don’t hesitate to see a doctor.
How do I stop my knee from burning?
A knee hitting the mat over and over again can cause swelling. Padded kneepads can help prevent that. Another type of kneepad, called a shooting sleeve, has less padding and is designed to help knees slide across the mat to help prevent mat burns. A user on reddit recommended the McDavid Knee Pad 410.
How to wrap a knee with BJJ mat burn?
Don’t wrap it up, instead, wear spats and get knee pads.