Have you ever wondered if boxing can cause serious damage to your hands? Ever felt that irksome ache in your wrists and hands after workouts?
If yes then you might be using the wrong gloves or perhaps the wrong technique, after all, boxing is not all about punching, there is more to the learn about the technique than the force applied.
This could be caused by not getting enough rest, not warming up properly, or not attempting to strengthen the wrists and forearm muscles.
Boxing is a kind of combat sport where there is excessive use of hand and arm muscles along with support from the torso and calves muscles.
Know that the force the boxer generates with his punches are greatly more than his hands and wrists can bear sometimes.
But, with proper training and techniques, many boxers can learn and practice effective boxing techniques without damaging their arm muscles or bone structure.
Something about boxing captures our imagination like nothing else. What inspires us the most is that two people face each other across the ring with the only intention of thrashing each other with their fists.
It solidifies the strength more and for combat sports fanatics, it gives you goosebumps in a way that only something so primal is capable of.
Let’s first get to the causes of wrist pain, then symptoms, and what you can do to help combat boxing hand injury.
Causes of Common Hand Injuries in Boxing
When you are training no matter what the sport is there are always a few ground rules along with certain techniques and skills that you have to master to make excel in the sport.
Muscles take time to build, they will not build overnight and you should not attempt to over-work yourself into decreasing the amount of time that it is bound to take for you to master the sport.
Injuries are a given for any sport, even trained professionals end up severely hurting themselves if the right amount of force is applied at the wrong angle.
A few reasons that you should watch out for to avoid injuries while boxing are:
Not Wearing Quality Hand Wraps and Gloves
Primarily, make sure to shield your hands and wrists by always putting on hand wraps, inner gloves, and boxing gloves. This is of vital importance to keep your hands protected.
Make sure to keep your wrists straight when you put hand wraps on because bending as this will only intensify the bend in your wrist and can possibly cause some serious bone injuries or structural damage.
Moreover, you need to be sure that when you wear, its wrap is secured and does not have a loose fit, but at the same time, it’s not too tight as it might hinder the blood circulation.
So, the wrap should be tight enough to be firm but not as tight as to block the blood flow.
If you are training at a gym, you must ask your coach to demonstrate to you how to wear hand wraps correctly, or in case you are training on your own, you can watch tutorial videos on how to do your wraps promptly.
Next, you must always wear boxing gloves. Get gloves weighing 16oz or more as per your build.
Although it is recommended not to get gloves any lower than 14oz. If you are using Velcro closure gloves, they should be secured around your wrists.
On the other hand, if you are using lace-up gloves then make sure whoever is tying them up for you gives you a firm grip.
And do keep it in mind that never ever train bare fist, not even do few shots on the heavy bag for just a show-off because this is indeed a sure way of damaging your wrists.
When you start with your boxing training, you should never just only begin with keeping your focus on power and speed as it will cut your attention from the overall form and this is not the right approach.
Because this will result in training you to throw ineffective shots, which will lead to hand and wrists damage.
So, do not just go straight up and start throwing punches with power and speed on the bag, in fact, you should begin slow and when you feel that now the shots are landing correctly, then start applying force.
When you start punching, be mindful of your punching that your hand is in a proper position so that instant pressure is not applied to your joints from the wrong direction.
Keep your wrist straight in accordance with arm and do not bend it while punching. And remember that when you punch, punch with your middle and index knuckles.
As if you use the ring finger and pinky knuckles it might result in a boxer’s fissure.
That means you need to take time to practice on your form and technique and not the power and speed, because these will come automatically once you focus on the correct method.
Proper rest is essential for a boxer’s training. You need to understand that boxing is a sport that builds up not just your muscles, the muscles that are required to produce those effective punches, but it also builds up stamina.
This takes time and constant effort, if you tire yourself dry on the first week you will use up all your body nutritions that need to be used to build muscle.
If that’s what your agenda is then boxing will be little more than a good cardio workout for you.
Mind you that training for boxing does not always have to include a punching bag and gloves. You can do other exercises to improve your overall stamina and strength for training.
For example, to improve speed and build calf muscles you can try jump ropes and sprints that will also help you build stamina.
You need to focus on building your calf muscles for boxing just as much as arm muscles so that you can always be on your toes
You can also try strength-building workouts like battle rope exercises, weight training machines, heavy lifting along with High-Intensity workouts.
But above all, you need to know that taking a day or two off is a must.
Because it is always good to take a day or two off then to be off a week or so from your training because of any injury or damage to your hands or another body part.
Not Warming Up Properly
One more thing to keep in mind in order to reduce the risk of hand wrist injury is to be sure that you first do an appropriate warm-up exercise.
Warming up helps prepare your body for intensive workout sessions. The raised blood pressure and body temperature loosen your joints and increase blood flow to joints.
It will also improve blood circulation therefore better blood flow to muscles, faster metabolism, lesser carbon dioxide build-up, and thus lesser cramps.
Because you must not start your workout as you are more vulnerable to injuries that way.
Thus, a proper warm-up is required and we recommend dynamic stretching as it is most advantageous before a workout.
Dynamic stretching is basically moving around as you stretch to cover more area and stretching your joints in all directions, this gives better mobility during your workouts.
Another good workout is a light cardio session like jogging or jumping jacks. Planks, sit-ups, etc. will help engage your muscles before the workout.
The impact of a good warm-up is under-estimated by most new beginners in any field of sport, the right kind of warm-up will help you last 10 minutes longer than your average time.
Do Not Overdo Heavy Bag Training
Mostly what novice boxers do, they just get straight on the training at the very start and overdo the training that ultimately results in damaging of the hands as well as it destroys the bag too.
If you are a beginner, do not think that you have to prove yourself to someone or show your bravado the second you put on the gloves. Instead, what should you do?
You should know that you must take your time on the heavy bag. Do not entirely and at first focus on power and speed, instead work on your technique, so that strength and speed will come later.
Furthermore, if you are new to heavy bag training, we advise you to give time to yourself to get accustomed to the punching bag.
Because when you are new to heavy bag training, your body will be requiring time to get familiar to it.
Same when you get stronger from training on heavy bags, your hand and wrists will automatically get more resilient to the shock impact from hitting the bag.
But remember not to train on punching bag as your hands will hurt after punching every day. Thus, get a day or two off from it to do other types of training, assure there are many.
Symptoms of Wrist Pain
There are numerous symptoms that can cause wrist pain and either they are boxing related symptoms or possibly be brought on from boxing resulting in damaging your hands.
Metacarpal bones are the bones that link your fingers to your wrist and a boxer’s fracture is called a damage of the 5th or 4th metacarpal bones.
The 5th and the 4th are related to the pinky finger and the ring finger correspondingly.
This damage is sometimes also raised to as brawlers’ fracture because a pro or even unprofessional boxer do not generally endure this type of damage.
But rather a novice or street brawler does who hasn’t learned to punch correctly.
This causes distress to the wrist as all the bones are linked.
When this injury happens, bumps or bruises will start to appear around the affected area and you will see abnormality of the fractured bones.
So, when this happens, you need to make it right by getting proper medical care.
Wrist osteoarthritis is the weakening of the cartilage in your wrist bones, which will apparently cause pain, stiffness and uneasiness in your wrists.
This is a disorder that generally comes with age and can get worse as time goes by.
This may cause because of excessive wrist usage, which means heavy bag training on a daily basis is not recommended at all. T
More importantly, you need to make sure to wear gloves and inner wraps to lessen the strain on the wrists, along with using the correct form and be sure to rest.
Keep in mind that if you experience regular pain, bumps or even the loss of function, you must go for medical attention.
Keep in mind that being careless towards osteoarthritis can lead to more damage as it is advanced and need immediate medical treatment.
A carpal fracture is a breakdown of the bone in your lower hand or upper wrist.
According to the International Boxing Association, carpal fractures are the most common fractures in boxers, and also the most worrying.
Indications of a carpal fracture include ache, faintness or numbness around the area where your hand attaches to the wrist.
Cracked or splintered fingers are another common damage in boxers, usually triggered when a punch is shot wrong.
Even though the large knuckles of the index and middle fingers handle impact, the smaller knuckles break under a solid punch.
Moreover, a poor angles punch can even break the bones in the back of the boxer’s hand. Not essentially in the boxing rings, but even outside of boxing, this kind of breakdown is called a boxer’s fracture.
Usually, you will realize this type of hurt at once, as its impact hurt enough, and you feel a weakness in the hand and knuckles.
Scrapes & Bumps
In addition to the two common fractures, a boxer’s hands often hoard an assemblage of scrapes, bumps and minor injuries.
Even though no one of these injuries is an emergency, they can add up to wretchedness or a hand ready for a major disruption if they remain untreated.
Remember not to go hard on yourself so if it hurts to punch, then it is a good idea to stop punching for the day.
You can still get sufficient training in other forms by practicing footwork or getting in a run.
How to Heal Knuckles After Boxing?
When you hand hurts after punching, healing of the boxer’s wrist depends on the severity of their knuckle bruise and the underlying cause.
If the bruise is minor, then you should rest and take slight medication to reduce pain and swelling.
Moreover, let us tell you that icing hands after boxing for 15 to 20 minutes proves to be the best remedy to reduce swelling. Uplifting your hand can help reduce swelling as well.
In case you experience more serious bruises or fracture, you must have to wear a splint and limit your training until that bruise heals.
Furthermore, it depends on the intensity of the bruise or bumps and if it is more serious an requires specific care, then physiotherapy is essential to improve your movement and release pain.
Apart from bruises or lumps, in case you get broken knuckles or fractures, surgery may be required. Consult your doctor and before the doctor recommends treatment, an X-ray will be a must to rule out fissures and broken bones.
How to Avoid Common Boxing Hand Injuries?
Avert Hand Injuries
Proper drill and correct equipment will be your best protection against boxing injuries. And majorly, before you begin to start with throwing punches, you should get skilled instructions in the correct techniques for landing punches powerfully.
Accurately applied boxing hand wraps and boxing gloves protect your hands from the worst injuries related to boxing.
There are many exercises and advice that will help you get rid of sore knuckles after long hours of intense training. Let’s discuss a few:
- Knuckle pushups
For getting rid of aching knuckles, you should do specific knuckle pushups instead of ordinary palm pushups. For knuckle pushups, you need to clasp your fist, use your knuckles and squeeze your hands and forearms as you do in a regular pushup. Also, you can do fingertip pushups, but do not try harder as it will be hard at first. But it does the job sufficiently.
- Handhold strengtheners
Handgrip strengtheners are those tiny handheld clutches that you grasp in your hands and squash them to build your hand and arms muscles. These hand grip strengtheners are really reasonable, so you can easily buy and use than anywhere or on the go.
- Wrist extension and wrist curls
You can also use lightweight weighing few kgs and not much. In order to do wrists extensions, you need to place and extend your forearms on your thighs in a way that your hand and wrist hang over your knee. And pick the weight in your hand like that and spread your wrist up and down. Whereas to do wrist curls, you have to do the reverse, like you have to extend the outside of your arm on your thighs and curl the weight with your wrist in such a manner that the hand is over the end of your knee.
- Side wrist extension
For side wrist extension, you will have side of your arm on your thigh, between the position of the wrist extension and wrist curl. Then you should have the weight in a hammer curl position to curve the wrist up and down.
- Farmers walk
You can also work this out as this is a very active and efficient exercise to do. Farmers walk is the one in which you carry weights in each hand. You can use weights according to your capacity, 15 kgs or whatever you want to start it with at first. With weights in hand, you will walk around, shift your weight side to side while squeezing your fists to build strength in the wrists and forearms.
Sure, experiencing wrist pain at times is just a part of boxing sport. But you must ensure your safety in a correct manner, get warmed up appropriately and should get adequate rest.
If you encounter a wore hand damage and you see some bruise and swelling, you should treat it instantly by icing hands and giving more attention to the area in order to bring the bump down. Also, mainly you must go consult your doctor to get the damaged hand treated properly.