The knee is a common site of injury in many sports, including combat sports. Due to the direct stress to knee structures during submission attempts, the prevalence of knee injury in Brazilian JiuJitsu (BJJ) is thought to be high. This study aimed to evaluate the epidemiology of knee injuries in BJJ and compare this to other sports. 


198 BJJ athletes answered a mixed questionnaire based on the Referred Morbidity Instrument. A musculoskeletal injury was defined as any event that causes absence from training or competition for > 1 week, change to training habits for >2weeks, or results in the athlete seeking medical opinion for diagnosis or treatment. The period 3 years prior to the study was used as a time frame on which to base the reporting. 


The prevalence of knee injury was 0.77 per 1,000 training hours. Knee injuries accounted for 29.8% of total injuries. This prevalence is higher than that reported in other combat sports such as judo and MMA and in other sports such as soccer, basketball and handball. 


The most common form of knee injury was a “sprain” (likely referring to an incomplete ligamentous rupture), followed by meniscal and chondral injuries. The most commonly injured ligament was the medial ligament. 


Given this high occurrence, athletes and coaches should be educated regarding the risks involved. Safety measures, such as greater care with application of knee-stressing techniques and prescription of prehabilitation programs, should be considered.


#kneeinjury #bjj #brazilianjiujitsu #grappling #kneepain

EUSTAQUIO, JOSÉ, MARTINS JULIANO, AMANDA LARUZO RABELO, PEDRO DEBIEUX, CAMILA COHEN KALEKA, and O. C. T. Á. V. I. O. BARBOSA NETO. “Knee injuries prevalence in Brazilian jiu-jitsu: epidemiological study.” Acta Ortopédica Brasileira 29 (2021): 327-330.

About the author

Sam Gilbert

Sam Gilbert is a registered physiotherapist with the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) and certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). He holds a bachelor’s degree in Physiotherapy from Latrobe university (Melbourne, Australia) and a master’s degree in Exercise Science (Strength and Conditioning) from Edith Cowan University (Perth, Australia).

A 3rd Dan black belt in Shinkyokushinkai Karate under the World Karate Organisation (WKO), Sam participated for over 20 years in full contact competition, winning multiple state and national titles, and culminating in a 4th place in the heavyweight division of the Shinkyokushinkai World Cup in 2009.

As the co-founder and clinical director of Club 360, the premier multi-disciplinary health and fitness center in Tokyo, Japan, Sam has combined his practical experience with an in-depth study of sports performance in relation to combat sports, and strives to help other combat athletes reach their full competitive potential, whilst at the same time decreasing injury risk and increasing competition and training potential.

Add comment

By Sam Gilbert