Injury rates in martial art athletes: anthropometric parameters and training volume, but not foot morphology indexes, are predictive risk factors for lower limb injuries

Jacopo A Vitale, Tito Bassani, Fabio Galbusera, Alberto Bianchi, Nicolò Martinelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Previous studies attempted to identify possible risk factors for acute and overuse injuries in several sports disciplines such as running, gymnastics or team sports. Given the lack of scientific works focused on risk factors for lower limb injuries in martial arts, the present study was aimed to investigate foot anatomy, anthropometric measures, and other background information as possible risk factors of injury in barefoot athletes practicing judo, karate, kung fu, thai boxe, or aikido. In addition, the injury rates were evaluated in relation with the different martial art styles.

METHODS: One group of 130 martial artists was retrospectively evaluated. Data of three foot morphological variables were collected: navicular height (NH), navicular drop (ND) and the rear foot (RF). In addition, each participant filled an interview questionnaire providing the following information: age, sex, body weight, height, BMI, hours of training per week, the kind of injury occurred to the lower limbs in the preceding year.

RESULTS: Of 130 subjects, 70 (53.8%) did not sustain injuries, 35 (27.0%) suffered an acute injury and the remaining 25 (19.2%) reported an overuse injury. No significant differences were observed in the injury rates in relation to style and kind of martial art. Age, training volume and BMI were found as significant predictors of injury, while NH, ND and RF were not able to predict acute or overuse injury at lower limbs.

CONCLUSIONS: The injury rates were similar in karate, judo, kung fu, aikido, and thai boxe. The foot morphology variables were not related with the presence or absence of acute and overuse injuries. Conversely, older and heavier martial artists, performing more hours of barefoot training, are at higher risk of acute and overuse injury. Athletic trainers should strongly take into account the present information in order to develop more accurate and specific injury prevention programs for martial artists.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Sep 22 2017

Keywords

  • Journal Article

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