Can I Train BJJ With Ringworm?

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Picture of ringworm

Believe it or not, Jiu Jitsu students really ask if they can train BJJ with ringworm. The skin infection that is a common occurrence among BJJ students.

For those that really need this question answered, we go into full detail on why you shouldn’t train with ringworm. We’ll also detail what ringworm is, how to treat it, and precautions for avoiding this infection.

Can I train BJJ with ringworm? No, you should absolutely not train BJJ with ringworm. It is highly infectious and will more than likely be transmitted to your teammates. Seek medical treatment and use a prescribed ointment until the infection goes away.

What is ringworm?

Ringworm is a highly contagious fungus that’s medical name is dermatophytosis. An infection of the skin from a fungus that develops within warm and damp areas.

Some may believe that the term ringworm means that there’s an actual worm in your skin, but there really isn’t. It’s actually just a fungal infection that creates a red circle around the infected area of the skin.

Next to a staph infection, ringworm is one of the most common skin infections that grapplers deal with.

Types of ringworm 

There are actually numerous types of ringworm that can develop on your body with different symptoms. The most common types of ringworm that affect BJJ students includes:

  • Tinea Corporis(Body Ringworm)
  • Tinea Capitis(Scalp Ringworm)
  • Tinea Pedis(Athlete’s Foot)
  • Tinea Cruris(Jock Itch) 
  • Tinea Unguium(Nail Infection)

You can develop any one of these type of fungal infections from training BJJ or any other type of combat sport.

Is ringworm contagious? 

Yes, ringworm is one of the most highly contagious fungus in existence. Person to person contact, where skin touches skin is the most common way of ringworm transmission. Which is why BJJ schools always stress the importance of their students bathing and keeping their gear clean.

Why is ringworm so prominent within BJJ?

A BJJ school is the perfect breeding ground for different bacterias and fungus like ringworm. Being a warm area with a high degree of humidity that can easily be transmitted from teammate to teammate.

Gis, rash guards and spats, and of course the mats are materials, where ringworm can grow and thrive. Then along with human contact from BJJ training, the fungus can easily be passed around the gym. Before anyone knows it, everyone in the school can be infected with ringworm

How long is the recovery time for ringworm? 

A mild case of ringworm will usually take you off the mat for two weeks to a month. For more severe cases of ringworm, you could miss months of training if you don’t take care of it.

Methods to treat ringworm

There are generally two different methods for treating an outbreak of ringworm. Both of these methods will help kill ringworm and get you back on the mat.

Topical ointments 

Antibiotics 

How to avoid ringworm?

Even though ringworm is highly contagious it is also very preventable to avoid this fungal infection. Here are some methods that you should implement to avoid an annoying ringworm flare up.

Bath regularly

Immediately after BJJ training, you must go home and take a shower. Infections like ringworm develop right after training, so you must thoroughly wash up to avoid the fungus from forming.

Wear clean clothes

Be sure to always wear clean clothes when you go to class and never wear clothes that you trained in. Bacteria and fungus can form easily on warm damp clothes and especially ones that you didn’t clean.

Wear ventilated shoes

Wearing shoes that are well ventilated will help stop the fungus that causes ringworm from forming. Sandals and flip flops are the best options, but if you’re going to wear tennis shoes, make sure they’re clean. Also be sure to wear clean socks.

Cut nails

Fungus and bacteria can easily form under dirty and long finger/toe nails. That is why it’s a common courtesy to keep your nails short and clean before you go to class and train.  

Don’t share training gear or clothes  

Another way to avoid ringworm is to never share your clothes or training gear with your teammates. This is a common way that ringworm is transmitted and should be avoided.

Don’t walk barefoot off the mats

You can also bring ringworm and other types of bacteria onto the mat if you walk barefoot around the gym. That is why you always need to wear flip flops or tennis shoes whenever you leave the mat.

Make sure mats are clean

If you’re the coach or work in the gym, it is your job to make sure the mats are clean before and after every class. After every class, you need to thoroughly clean the mats to kill any bacteria or fungus like ringworm that can form.

Products to help prevent ringworm 

Thankfully now, there are numerous brands of antibacterial soap and shampoo created specifically for BJJ practitioners. Here are some of the great antibacterial Jiu Jitsu soaps that are currently available on Amazon.

Defense Soap

Defense soap was one of the very first soaps created specifically for Jiu Jitsu practitioners. All of their products include natural ingredients that are known to prevent infections like green tree oil and eucalyptus oil. 

They have also sponsored numerous BJJ competitions, BJJ athletes, podcasts, and different combat sports websites.

Not only is Defense Soap one of the oldest and well respected BJJ soaps, but they also have the biggest selection. Their currently list of products on Amazon includes:

Submission Soap by Gold BJJ

Gold BJJ are one of the most dependable companies that make various items for the Jiu Jitsu market. Including their brand antibacterial soap that they call Submission Soap.

Submission Soap is made in America and is made out of 100% natural ingredients that are GMO free and vegan. All ten of the ingredients in their soap have been medically proven to prevent infections like ringworm

They currently sell their top of the line soap in singles, two packs, five packs, and they come in three scents.

  • Classic Tea Tree
  • Activated Charcoal Tea Tree
  • Peppermint Tea Tree

Martial Arts Soap

Soap company Soapazon makes makes one of the highest rated soaps on Amazon that they call Martial Arts Soap. They specifically designed this soap to be used by everyone from Judokas to BJJ practitioners.

All of the ingredients in this soap are 100% chemical free and natural ingredients. All tested and proven to fight off infections like tea tree oil, charcoal, and peppermint extract.

Soapazon currently makes their top of the line soap in three different scents and packs.

  • Activated Charcoal & Peppermint Tea Tree
  • Organic Tea Tree
  • Peppermint Tea Tree

Jiu Jitsu Soap

The company Escape Soap makes their own brand of soap specifically for BJJ athletes called Jiu Jitsu soap. Completely organic, chemical free, vegan soap that will not only kill bacteria, but also exfoliate your skin.

Perfect for everyone from Jiu Jitsu athletes to amateur wrestlers. Escape Soap also backs their product with a 30 day satisfaction guarantee.

Stay clean and keep training

Ringworm is a nasty skin irritation to deal with and can take you off the mat for an extended period. Be sure to follow the steps to avoid ringworm above and consider the antibacterial/fungal soaps in the recommendation section. That way you stay clean, fungal free, and be able to keep training!

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