There have been many long hot days and many cold dark nights. The gym never sleeps, and you rarely do. You've suffered through pain, disappointment, and loss but you've put in the time and energy to be exactly where you are right now.
This is your night. The lights are bright and the camera flashes are all around you. The environment is electric, and the crowd is charged. Your heart is a bass drum pounding from the adrenaline like the engine in a Funny Car dragster.
You're in the ring. Dancing with the opponent is something you have down to a science. Duck. Slip. Check. Ah, an opening! You go for it: roundhouse kick, shin to shin. Wham. Oh no. Sudden intense pain swells from your shin, probably a deep contusion. You finish the fight, but your leg is throbbing.
As a fighter, pain sucks, but it's no stranger to you because you've had your share with every blow to your body during your physical journey.
You understand dealing with pain and injury is part of the game and you may be familiar with some of the following:
1. Deep Contusion (Bone Bruise)
Things are known to get crazy in the ring and it's common to walk out with an injury of some sort. In this instance, a bone bruise, although a bruise, is no laughing matter. In fact, there are three known types:
Subperiosteal Hematoma: Where blood builds up beneath the fibrous membrane that covers the surface of the bone.
Interosseous Bruise: Involves bleeding and swelling in the central cavity of the bone.
Subchondral Lesion: Where bleeding and swelling occurs between, to repair cartilage and the bone underneath.
You're probably wondering how these terrible bruises even occur. Well, all you need to know is that when you step into the ring, they happen. And they are going to suck.
2. Broken Toes
Broken toes are like a box of chocolates. You never know which one you're going to break until you throw that 540 Roundhouse Kick. Just kidding, everyone knows that would never be practical. Regardless, broken toes happen when your foot meets the elbow or knee of your opponent, and they hurt like hell.
3. Hamstring Rupture
Your knee functions like a door hinge. Knowing this, you are used to operating the door in a specific range of motion (ROM). Imagine exceeding this specific ROM by trying to rip the door off its hinge. You get the idea. It sounds painful, doesn't it? In the cage, you understand the nature of this when you get kicked behind the leg or if your opponent locks you into a dreaded kneebar. Either way, you're gonna be hating life.
4. ACL Injury
Although extremely common in many sports including martial arts, the severity of this injury is immense. It involves the tearing of the anterior cruciate ligament, and can also involve the tearing of the meniscus cartilage in the knee. This injury requires surgery and months of physical therapy. In a nutshell, if an ACL injury had an equivalent it would be like McGregor striking you in the crotch.