gi grappling = arthritis hands later in life?

I'll keep this short and if its been asked before someone can just give me the skinny. But I did no-gi for 10+ years and an pretty used to the aches and pains that grappling has to offer. However, I've been doing BJJ in a gi for a month now(3-4 times a week) and I can't get over how sore my hands and fingers seem to be all the time.

Does this ever go away while training in the gi? Do your joints get used to it? Is it the kind of thing that can lead to arthritis later in life in my hands/fingers or even wrists? Can any guys who've done BJJ or even Judo for a long time or perhaps older players who've been in the game and have had time to see the effects offer any insight?

thanks for the help guys,


My hands hurt less after BJJ compared to Hakko Ryu! ;) No wrist bends. Personally, I feel that my hands are just stronger from all the gripping of uniforms and kettlebells.

mostly it just goes away but if you look at someone like caiques fingers.. you can see the permenent damage that is possible

work your antagonist muscles with rubber bands and stretch, stretch, stretch...

ask on the Judo forum.

In my experience, I've broken 3 fingers because of the GI.

I assume I'll have arthritis in my hands when I'm older (old).

Even now -- been training 9 years -- I don't shake people's hands at times because the pressure really hurts my fingers.

When i first started gi training i wouold have a death grip on the sleeves and my hands would ache the next morning.

I prefer to use a hook grip on the sleeve as I can keep a good grip and not fatigue my hands. Sort of how your hand would be if you were hanging from a ledge with no thumb.

Even still you will have to switch to a "fist grip" as i did today since i was drilling a lot of sleeve control stuff.

Basically you grasp the sleeve fabric and hold it in your palm and make a fist..this is very very easy on the fingers

I've been training in a gi for 11 years and I have no pain in my hands.

i would think genitics might have something to do with it and if your used to it or not. when i first started working grips they used to hurt all the time now not so much but it is hard to open a beer or bag of chips which isnt always a bad thing

Been training judo since age 6, bjj since 2000. I'm 28 now.

My hands and fingers are always stiff and painful in the morning. I take fish oil, msm, glucosamine and chondrotine to help with joint mobility.

Proper grips help save fingers. But the damage is done: both my paws are crooked and twisted.

Lately I've been using 4-finger hooks and joystick grips (when you grab the end of the sleeve in your closed first like holding a joystick).

I try to never use less than 4 fingers to hold my opponent's gi, but sometimes you just grab what you can, especially when you're fighting to sink the lapel choke.

I don't think there is much doubt that gi training IS significantly harder on the hands.

If one is a woman, child or "fine-boned", I would recommend sticking to no-gi.

You are probably grabbing the gi with a death grip. Once you learn how to grip properly -- relaxed, using your palm and not just your fingers, and "hook" gripping -- it will get a lot easier.

It's a lot easier on your hands than judo. But it's still a lot harder on the hands than no-gi, for sure.

 Walmart sells a fingerless neoprene glove for about $8 in the pharmacy area.  It stays in place real well and gives mild support while keeping the muscles warm.  You can tape the finger joints if needed. 

I have chronic tendonitis in my hands. I  use thase when it flares up.  Most of the time , I don't need them any more.

On a training note, you do learn to set your chokes gradually as time goes by.  You also learn when not to burn your grips.


ttt for more experiences

 never had finger problems until a couple weeks ago when i dislocated my thumb.  i've been taping it to my hand, and since then my fingers have been really sore.  especially the base joint of my middle finger.  i think it's because i had to completely readjust my gripping technique without the use of my thumb.



 *looks down at gnarled, calloused, misshapen hands*

Later in life?  How about right now?  And I'm only 32...

Gave up gi training a few years back because of arthritis developing in every finger except thumbs.

I started Muay Thai and then later, BJJ while on an extended break from rock climbing because of what it was doing to my fingers. I've had two finger tendons fail with an audible POP and general pain that made climbing anything remotely difficult too painful.

As it so happened, I found BJJ interesting and fun enough that I simply replaced climbing with it.

Now after 10 years of climbing and then 5 years of BJJ I really don't have any problems with my hands and fingers, but I suppose after all that climbing I may simply be conditioned well enough that the lesser stress of bjj gripping is not a problem.

I think a lot of people simply over grip, especially at first. BJJ and climbing are similar in that you should only hang on just as much as needed. Overgripping is a no no. But I can see how getting fingers twisted in a gi isn't good either.

This thread is proof that no-gi is better.

sits back and waits for gi fans to delete their posts


 "getting fingers twisted in a gi isn't good either. "

Yeah, that's what happened to my right index finger and now it looks like there is a marble permanently attached to the right side of my knuckle.

I think Roy Harris said he trains mostly no-gi because of arthritis problems as well.

Oh well, I can't take my knuckles with me into the next life, so I might as well use 'em up here.  I'll just keep telling myself that "chicks dig scars and ugly hands".