Having heard about the remarkable boxing story of Muhammad Ali, the inspirational comeback story of Tyson Fury, and the story of Floyd Mayweather Jr., many would feel driven to take up boxing as a sport. Also, it is essential to remember that at the highest level, boxing is a very lucrative sport whose financial package is likely to sway most individuals one way or the other. However, this sport is not one you can pick up randomly due to its nature.

For many amateur boxers and some professional ones, injuries are prevalent due to the physical requirements of the sport. One of the most common injuries boxers inflict upon themselves is the bruising of their knuckles.

For seasoned pros like Fury, Anthony Joshua, Canelo Alvarez, and the likes, suffering from bruised knuckles is not a big deal as it does not occur frequently. However, for you, the amateur boxer, there is a need to understand what causes bruised knuckles and how to avoid bruising your knuckles when boxing. This article is for you to learn about these things.

What is a bruised knuckle?

The knuckles are a part of the hand formed at the joint where the bases of the bones of the fingers meet the rest of the hand. When punching, the knuckles are usually the points of impact as they come in direct contact with the surface being punched, making them liable to get bruised.

A bruised knuckle is the term used for an injury suffered due to the impact of a punch on the one who threw it. Knowing the human body, the skin, bones, and muscles can easily get injured if proper care is not taken.

Bruising of the knuckle ensues when the knuckle begins to swell and bleed under the skin without any broken bones or visible cuts to the skin. It is caused mainly by increased friction between the knuckle and the surface upon which it lands or lies under.

As a newbie in boxing, bruised knuckles are pretty standard due to sparring with a partner or working out with a sandbag or speed bag. However, this is not something you want as a boxer, as maintaining injury-free hands is the most important thing for a fighter.

How do you avoid bruised knuckles?

Seasoned boxers recognize the importance of staying fit and avoiding injuries that may derail their careers. As a result, they have devised a number of means to keep their knuckles free from bruises at all times, primarily as they work out in preparation for bouts. Here are a few methods employed to avoid bruised knuckles:

Punching Form

In boxing, it is vital to maintain a correct form when punching because it may contribute to the effect a punch has on the knuckle of the one throwing it. Punching with an open hand is a no-no in boxing because it is directly injurious to boxers.

When a punch is thrown with an open hand, it means the fist is not firmly clenched, and this allows the impact to dissipate beyond the tip of the knuckles. As a result, it could possibly cause the knuckle to graze the surface punched and lead to bruising.

The effect of the punch should be limited to the index and middle fingers in a proper punch, but with poor punching form, this is not usually the case.

Apart from bruising the knuckles, punching with an open hand also allows the impact of the punch to reach the wrist, possibly inflicting damage on it. It is, therefore, important for boxers to avoid throwing punches unless their fists are firmly closed to prevent possible bruising of their knuckles.

Using good-quality gloves

For a boxer, the boxing gloves are most important at any point in time. This is because they use gloves in training, sparring with a partner, and during live bouts. Therefore, it is only fitting that the gloves be of good quality.

A pair of good-quality gloves is one that is used for the proper purpose and offers sufficient protection to the hands of the boxer. When a boxer uses an ill-fitting pair of gloves, he exposes himself to possible injuries, including bruised knuckles.

For example, bag mitts must be used when working out with a sandbag due to their unique feature that makes them suitable for working on such a surface. Also, It is essential that the gloves be padded appropriately to protect the knuckles during punching. In addition, the gloves must be the boxer’s exact size and not be too loose or too tight to eliminate the possibility of his hands bouncing around in them.

Use of proper hand wraps

The hands do not go into the gloves unless they are appropriately wrapped in order to protect boxers from knuckle bruising. This wrapping is usually done using protective hand bandages which serve the purpose of limiting the contact between the knuckles and the surface being punched.

Like with the gloves, the hand wraps must be firmly put on to reduce the risk of having the knuckles rub against the insides and prevent any possible abrasions to the knuckles.

How to Avoid Bruised Knuckles When Boxing

Invest in the right punching bags

As an amateur or up-and-coming boxer, it is essential to know that there are a variety of punching bags available in the market, but some of them have been tailored specifically for various purposes.

For the purpose of training newbies, softer bags have been developed. Such bags are usually covered with leather or vinyl and are recommended for amateurs in the sport. For experts/professionals, however, harder heavy bag types are available for them to use.

Immersing the knuckles in ice after working out

As a boxer, you know that your knuckles bear the majority of the brunt in training and actual bouts. It is, therefore, an excellent preventive measure to immerse the knuckles in ice after every training session. This helps to cool down the hands and reduce inflammation, preventing the accumulation of injuries that may eventually lead to severe bruising of the knuckles.

Body Conditioning

The human body is a complex system that works in a certain way. It is essential to understand that repeating an action over time makes it easier for the body to adjust to it. In this case, a boxer must take care to ensure that the punches he throws in training and while he spars are controlled, allowing him to regulate the amount of power used. This helps to avoid bruising of the knuckles during training and keeps the fighter in good condition for the actual fight.


The knuckles are a boxer’s most trusted allies and must be treated as such. It is, therefore, important to always protect them and keep them injury-free because the slightest injury to a boxer’s knuckles reduces the boxer’s punching ability significantly.

There are many tested and trusted ways of preventing bruises to the knuckles of boxers, and these must be strictly followed by every boxer who wishes to avoid injuring their knuckles. Understanding these methods of protection is important as only then can a boxer indeed be free from bruised knuckles. As you have read in this article, it is important for boxers to care correctly for their knuckles.

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