How do I protect my feet during BJJ?

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a fantastic martial art that emphasizes ground grappling techniques. However, with the emphasis on groundwork, the feet are often left vulnerable to injury. Foot injuries can be quite painful and can even sideline you from training for an extended period.

In this post, we’ll discuss common BJJ foot injuries and how to prevent them.

Common Jiu Jitsu Foot Injuries

BJJ practitioners are at risk of various foot injuries due to the constant strain and pressure placed on the feet during training. Here are a few of the most common foot injuries in BJJ:

  • Dislocations and fractured Toes: It’s not uncommon to accidentally kick your partner or the mat during training, resulting in a toe fracture. It often also happens when the toe clings to the sleeve, pants, or other parts of the gi.
  • Mat burns: Probably one of the most common foot injuries in jiu jitsu.
  • Turf Toe (Metatarsophalangeal joint sprain): This is a sprain of the big toe joint and is common in BJJ due to the constant pushing off and twisting motions involved in the sport.
  • Physiological features: Or pre-existing foot conditions. We all are unique and sometimes specific foot features can cause permanent pain. For example, big toes aren’t supposed to touch your second toe. If this happens (there is no space between the toes), this can contribute to painful issues. Immobilizing the big toe can help significantly to prevent toe pain.
  • Gouty arthritis: Gout acquired under different circumstances can even cause a refusal from training for a certain period due to pain.
  • Impact from takedowns or throws: During takedowns or throws, your toes may hit the mat or your opponent’s body with force, leading to pain or even injury.

Why do My Toes Hurt in BJJ?

BJJ is a grappling martial art, and the emphasis is on gripping and holding your opponent. This constant gripping and twisting motion can result in pain and discomfort in your toes, which can be quite debilitating.

Also, as mentioned earlier, pre-existing foot conditions are a common reason for feeling pain in toes. If you have any pre-existing foot condition, such as plantar fasciitis or bunions, the movements, and pressure involved in BJJ can exacerbate the pain in your toes.

Can You Wrap Your Feet in BJJ?

Yes, you can wrap your feet in BJJ. Foot wrapping is a common practice in BJJ and is an effective way to protect your feet from injury. It also provides additional support and stability to your feet, which can help prevent injuries.

Can You Wear Shoes in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

No, you cannot wear shoes in BJJ.

Wearing shoes can be dangerous to both you and your training partners as they can cause you to slip on the mat. It can also be challenging to execute BJJ techniques correctly when wearing shoes.

Can you wear socks in jiu jitsu?

Socks are not allowed to wear on tournaments. Read the official rulebook before taking part in any.

But what about the regular training classes? Well, there is no strict rule not to allow you to wear socks unless the coach in your gym recommends you not to wear them.

In fact, a pair of regular socks can even cause you to slip on the mat, which can result in injury. It can also be challenging to maintain a good grip on your opponent’s gi when wearing socks.

But there are special sports socks that grapplers often wear on the mats. They are made from an elastic material, have a compression effect, and rubberized soles.

Are Broken Toes Common in BJJ?

Yes, broken toes are relatively common in BJJ. As mentioned earlier, accidentally hooking the gi with toes, pushing moves, and collisions can result in a broken toe.

Is it Ok to Tape Toes Together?

Yes, taping your toes together can help prevent further injury if you have a broken or sprained toe. It can also provide additional support and stability to your toes.

Toe Taping by Kurt Osiander

How to Prevent Mat Burn on Feet

Mat burn is a common occurrence in BJJ, especially when practicing techniques that involve a lot of foot movement. Here are a few tips to prevent mat burn on your feet:

  • Wear comfortable, well-fitting footwear
  • Keep your feet clean and dry
  • Apply petroleum jelly or specific type of ointment to your feet

More about mat burns and how to heal we have talked in our article about how to treat mat burn from wrestling.

BJJ Foot Tape

BJJ foot tape is a type of athletic tape that is specifically designed for use on the feet. It provides additional support and stability to the feet and can help prevent injuries. BJJ foot tape is also useful for preventing mat burn on the feet.

pre wrap athletic tape for mat burns

Pre wrap athletic tape for mat burns on Amazon


Foot injuries are a common occurrence in BJJ, but there are steps you can take to prevent them. Wrapping your feet, and taping your toes together can help protect your feet during training. Remember, prevention is always better than cure, so take care of your feet.

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