Tae Kwon Do Injury
TKD Injury Newsletter Series
Martial arts is becoming an increasingly popular sport among people of all ages and abilities. An information spread will be developed in the coming months about the injuries associated with Tae Kwon Do (TKD) and how to best prepare yourself for participating in the art. While the articles will be focussing on TKD, the concepts involved and its impact on the body can be transferred to other martial arts, as can the physiotherapy treatment.
TKD is a Korean martial art that uses various parts of the body in physical combat for self-defence. Students use their arms and legs to strike an opponent in a variety of quick, powerful kicks and punches. There are 3 main components of TKD;
- Poomsae: sets of specific techniques that a student performs to demonstrate the various attacking and defensive moves.
- Sparring: 1-on-1 semi-contact or full-contact rounds where students aim to score points by connecting their kicks or punches on their opponent.
- Board breaking: students strike boards with various parts of their arms and legs with the aim to break the board to demonstrate power and precision.
To perform these components TKD students must have strength, power, agility, endurance, speed and flexibility. Many different forces and stresses are placed on the body of a martial artist, whether it is performing a spinning head kick, conditioning the arms and legs, or being hit with an opponent’s strike. Injuries are therefore common, but where do these injuries occur and what can be done to treat or prevent them?
Research has found that;
- The knee is most commonly injured, followed by the ankle and shoulder
- More injuries occur during training than competition, and kicking causes more injuries than punching
- Contusion, sprains and strains are the most common types of injuries
- Approximately half of injured TKD students sought medical help. Those who did not, experienced a relapse of their injury in the future
- Most of the injuries lasted 0-4 weeks – a significant time away from training
- Those who have been participating in TKD for ~3-5 years are more likely to sustain an injury than those who have been training for >7yrs
- Due to the nature of TKD training, with multiple sessions a week for multiple hours, overuse injuries are also common
- Not performing a cool down post-training increased risk of injury
Who is more at risk?
- Those with less experience are more likely to be injured due to poor technique or not being conditioned to take a hit. Whereas those with more experience are likely to be injured due to high/spinning kicks
- Those who practice high or spinning kicks are more likely to have lower limb injuries
If you are doing a martial art and have an injury, or if you are thinking about starting and are concerned about whether you are ‘ready’, book an appointment with us. We can help you get back to training and reduce your chance of injury.