The Painful Truth About Jiu-Jitsu: Why Your Knees Are Crying Out for Help

  • Knee Injuries Are Common In Bjj Due To The Constant Twisting, Bending, And Pressure Applied To The Knee Joints During Training.
  • Kneebar, Guard Passing, Takedown Impact, And Overuse Are Common Culprits Of Knee Pain In Jiu-jitsu.
  • Muscle Imbalances, Running Or Jumping, And Weight-bearing Activities Can Also Cause Knee Pain And Discomfort In Jiu-jitsu Practitioners.

Ever rolled on the mat and thought, “Why do my knees hurt in Jiu-Jitsu?” 

Well, I’ve been there too. Knee injuries are common in BJJ.

In the quest for the perfect submission, it’s easy to forget about our poor knees. 

They’re constantly TWISTING, BENDING, and sometimes even CRYING FOR HELP. 

Let’s explore common causes of why our knees hurt in Jiu-Jitsu training. 

Common Culprits of Knee Pain

Meet Your Jiu-Jitsu Nemesis: The Kneebar


I’ll tell you, the first time I felt a kneebar, my life flashed before my eyes. It’s a hyperextension submission that targets the muscles and ligaments around the knee joint. 

When applied precisely, it can cause EXCRUCIATING PAIN and even lasting damage if you don’t tap out quickly.

Guard Passing: The Knee’s Worst Nightmare

We know passing the guard is a vital skill in Jiu-Jitsu; however, it could have potential adverse side effects. 

Whist training, constant TWISTING, TURNING, and PRESSURE applied while attempting to pass can strain the ligaments in your knees, particularly the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and the Medial Mollateral Ligament (MCL). 

Maintaining proper form and technique during practice can help mitigate the risk of injury.

Takedown Impact and Your Knees

Here comes most people’s favorite, the TAKEDOWNS. That’s a WHOLE DIFFERENT BEAST

Your fighting style could be an offensive or defensive end. Takedowns put significant stress on your knees — especially when you’re landing.

Trust me; my knees have felt the brunt of a few rough takedowns. Properly breaking your fall and using SAFE techniques can help ease the impact and minimize knee injury.

The Knee-Strain Chronicles: Overuse and Repetitive Stress

If you are someone in your 40’s and 50’s training in Jiu-Jitsu, You may start noticing some constant strain on your knees. It probably felt like they cried out for mercy every time you hit the mats. 

Sound familiar?

Many MMA fighters have been there. You will quickly realize that this knee pain was no coincidence – let’s face it, our knees take quite a beating in Jiu-Jitsu. 

Ah, the joy of grappling!

One Primary Reason For The Pain?

Overuse and repetitive stress

I found out that in grappling arts like Jiu-Jitsu, we’re constantly gripping, twisting, and applying pressure on our knees. According to the Mayo Clinic, this constant abuse can lead to irritation and pain under the kneecap.

So, how does this repetitive stress manifest itself? 

  • Muscle Imbalances: If the muscles around your knees and hips don’t KEEP UP with the rest of your body, it can cause pain and discomfort.
  • Running or Jumping: These activities place additional strain on our knee joints, which can result in inflammation and pain over time.
  • Weight Bearing: Yep, just your everyday walking or going up and down stairs can take a toll on our knee joints. I’m looking at you, post-training soreness.

Seeing the connection here?

Our beloved Jiu-Jitsu moves demand a lot from our knees, and There’s Only So Much They Can Take. 

But trust me, acknowledging this fact is the first step towards keeping our knees intact while we roll our way to victory.

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