Martial arts injuries
Martial arts in its different forms carry with it the risk of injury, ranging from mild to severe. Seasoned martial arts performers stand a higher chance of sustaining a catastrophic injury due to the competitive nature of the sport. Amateurs are more likely to suffer contusions, sprains and strains. Before beginning martial arts or any type of sport it is wise to consult with your physician to see if you can withstand rigorous training. Some major martial arts injuries are:
Contusions and lacerations
Inherent close contact puts these among the most common martial arts injuries. First aid treatment consists of ice and bandaging depending on the nature of the bruise or cut.
Sprains and strains
Injury to ligaments and muscles can occur from over-stretching of the ligaments or tears to the muscle and tendons. Legs and the cervical spine are most affected, with men having a higher incidence than women. Rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE) are helpful in relieving these conditions, followed by physiotherapy.
Knee injuries can result from forceful kicking and sudden changes in direction with the knee bent. Karate, judo and Thai kick boxers are all prone to this type of injury. ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injuries are quite common for the reasons mentioned. An ACL injury causes sharp knee pain, swelling and difficulty bearing weight. RICE can be used to decrease pain and swelling, but you should get to your physiotherapist quickly as possible for an assessment. Surgery may be required in some cases.
Dislocations and fractures
These are quite common in most martial arts, especially where grappling or throwing is involved. Fractures to the fingers and toes as well as the long bones of the forearm and legs are common. Dislocations to the shoulders, fingers and toes may also be sustained. RICE, medical attention and physiotherapy are vital to enable you to return to martial arts.
These occur in martial arts where lifting and twisting, and falling is involved (e.g. throwing in judo). Back pain, decreased movement and stiffness are some of the symptoms. Rest and ice are helpful, but it is important to see your physiotherapist in order to rule out any other form of injury. Physiotherapy is needed for pain management and to improve flexibility and strength.
These are life-threatening and encompass a wide array of injuries such as thoracic trauma, stomach trauma involving internal organs, spinal cord injury, cervical neck injury (whiplash), testicular injury, head injuries resulting in neurological damage, and many more. These all require immediate medical attention, and in some instances the player may not be able to return to martial arts.
Participating in Martial arts is a great way to keep fit, improve concentration and discipline while at the same time learning how to defend oneself and others. However, it can be dangerous and demanding. In order to stave off the risk of injury, it is wise to constantly improve flexibility, strength and endurance. Physiotherapy can help you do this, and if you do become injured, see us first.