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MMA – Mixed Martial Arts

MMA: The Gladiatorial combat

With the ever-increasing popularity of UFC stars such as Michael Bisping, Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov, there is no question the sport of MMA (Mixed Martial arts) has truly arrived in the UK and more specifically in Manchester. We have seen dozens of MMA gyms open up in the recent past in the central Manchester and surrounding areas. There are also those who have been around much longer, including the likes of Predators MMA gym based in Manchester city centre.

MMA perhaps more than any other sport is about the individuals, the mental and physical challenge, the opposing styles and the atmosphere on fight night.
Where does Physiotherapy come into all this? Well, the sport is no stranger to horrifying injuries. MMA injuries can be suffered in camp, rolling on the mats or in the octagon. Injuries are one left hook or one arm bar away. So good MMA physiotherapy can make the difference, for injury recovery and injury avoidance.

Mixed Martial Arts

The demands MMA makes on your body

MMA can be very tough on the body. Whether you’re shooting for a take down or trying to shake free from a choke, there are many opportunities for injury.

A fighter can win his or her bout in various ways, including knock out punches that concuss the opponent, choking the opponent or submitting their opponent with a joint hold that could potentially lead to a dislocation. This mean that injuries can also include neck strains and torn ankle ligaments.

Common MMA injuries

Most sports such as football or tennis have their own set of ‘common injuries’ arising from the specific physical demands of that sport. In sharp contrast, MMA has a number of different disciplines including wresting, boxing and jiu-jitsu. These give rise to a wide range of potential MMA injuries, but the most common ones are similar to those incurred boxing, including fractures, torn ligaments in the shoulder, elbows and torn ligaments in the knee.

MMA Injury Treatment

It is clear that if suffering an injury that is serious in nature, we would advise you to take a period of rest and recovery to allow healing to take place while undergoing testing by the appropriate medical professional. It is also important that the correct guidance is provided when it comes to rehabilitation to ensure that you get back to full strength and that there is minimal loss of muscle strength and joint co-ordination.

Selecting an MMA Physiotherapist

Whether it is a niggling shoulder injury or a torn ACL, it is preferable to find a physio with a solid grounding in the fight business.

Your MMA physio should assess your injury and take account of your health and injury history, then build a programme that is designed for you as an individual. The value of an individualised treatment program applies to everyone who is suffering an injury – whether from MMA or another sport entirely. But with MMA, the diverse nature of the sport makes individualised treatment even more important. So the physiotherapist must understand from your feedback exactly what specific disciplines you are engaged in. This should enable the physio to construct a treatment plan that meets your needs.

Your input and views are vital to creating a good treatment plan. So you should look for an MMA physio who wants to truly be ‘your partner in recovery’. MMA may be an activity that is all about the ‘individual’, but injury treatment has to be a team activity – you and your physio!

MMA injury: the mental challenges

Although you may find you are physically recovering from an injury better than expected or ahead of schedule, the bigger battle can be with the mind. It can sometimes be difficult to trust your body after an injury, as the mind will tell you there is every chance of it repeating.

A good MMA physio should help you to build your confidence, by increasing your activity load in small stages to ensure that you are returning to sport as safely and effectively as possible. But as importantly, the physio should also be able to talk through any worries you have and jointly with you develop a plan to handle those anxieties positively.

It comes back to the importance of teamwork: selecting a physio that you feel you can team up with.

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If you choose Full Motion Physio

I am deeply embedded in MMA – working with local MMA athletes who compete at a high level. This includes Sam Spencer, who has competed in the Cage Warriors’ promotion and rising stars including Tom Styles. I have also worked with the UFC organisation during their trip to the UK and treated lightweight contender Jimi Manuwa during this time.

I don’t just treat and discharge, I am available as you need me for advice and guidance as you progress through the various fighting disciplines. I aim to provide you with the tools to help self-manage your recovery, giving you a sense of ownership and an understanding of the problem, to help you to get back in action as quickly as possible.

My approach is described in the Full Motion Method page. Extensive research has identified the essential elements for the best physiotherapy. The Full Motion Method covers each of these elements.

One last point: Early diagnosis and intervention minimises the risk of the injury getting worse.

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