Mind Body Spirit Martial Arts
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- Grand Master Gene Perceval

Martial Arts First Aid:

Skin and Skin Conditions

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During the martial arts, a lot of twisting and turning in bare feet particularly on wood or a rough surface occurs, and can cause an abrasion. An abrasion such as a skinned elbow, knee, scraped wrist or foot is when the outer layers of the skin are rubbed off due to friction exposing the inner unprotected layers of the skin.

Bare feet in the martial arts can cause blisters. Water blisters in particular result from friction on the skin's surface. Friction pushes fluid from adjoining tissues into the open spaces between the layers of skin, causing a bubble of water. Breaking of the water blister can be painful.

If a student bruises a large joint such as a shoulder, elbow, wrist, or ankle and is reluctant to use it or if he or she has a problem moving the joint, the student should see a medical doctor as soon as possible. It is best to avoid the bruised area when engaged in the martial arts again. The student should also wear protective equipment over the bruised area to prevent further injury.

Constant pounding of the knuckles and balls of the feet was a daily practice in the martial arts, to toughen the affected area (a practice no longer considered popular), causing calluses to form. Calluses form when a specific area is in constant use. As a result, dead skin cells accumulate, thicken and harden on the affected area forming a raised pad on the skin's outer surface.

If a student receives a cut, scrape, or scratch, first aid should be given immediately to prevent an infection. Any injury in which the skin is broken is considered a wound. Just under the surface of the skin are tiny blood vessels. When they are torn, or broken, bleeding starts immediately. Cuts, scrapes and scratches may require different treatments, depending on their severity.

Pain at the site of a corn can increase when applying your body weight against it, or kicking an opponent or object using the affected area. Corns are an accumulation of hardened dead skin cells on the top, side, front, or underneath of the toe(s). Corns on the toes can affect a martial artist's performance by pressing or rubbing up against a nerve or bone.

After working out, a martial artist's foot may remain warm and moist for quite some time. Therefore, take precaution to dry your feet feet, particularly in-between the toes before putting on footwear to help prevent fungal infections. Fungus can otherwise thrive in these warm, moist conditions and infect the upper layer of skin. One of many common fungal infections is athlete's foot. Athlete's foot may last for a short, or long period of time. It can also return after treatment.

When training with weapons, there's always the possibility that you or another martial artist can incur a laceration. A laceration is a tear or breaking open of soft tissues caused by a sharp object, which produces irregular edges that may be straight or jagged. Most lacerations are serious in nature and can bleed heavily. The deeper and more irregular the laceration, the greater the chance of getting an infection. Seek medical help immediately if this occurs.

When training in the martial arts — either inside or outside — there is always the risk of a incurring puncture wound (at the park or elsewhere). A puncture wound or perforation can be caused by a sharp, pointed object that has forcefully penetrated the skin. This type of wound can be caused by any foreign object that has penetrated the dermis, such as a wood splinter (from breaking a wood board). The penetrating object can carry bacteria through the skin and into the body, resulting in an infection.

It is usually obvious to a martial artist when he/she gets a splinter. A sharp sliver of wood, thorns, spines, glass, plastic, metal or any foreign body that has entered or become lodged underneath the skin can cause bleeding. A splinter should be removed as soon as possible to prevent further inflammation or infection.