Common injuries in Taekwondo athletes and their prevention

Dec 24, 2018


Health Info


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Common injuries in Taekwondo athletes and their prevention

Training is accompanied with injuries and there is no exception in Taekwondo. Lower limb injuries are common in Taekwondo as it is a lower limb based martial art. Two major types of injuries are knee and ankle sprain and muscle strain due to explosive or repetitive movements. The above mentioned injuries can be prevented by different types of training which will be introduced below.

Sprain injuries

Knee and ankle sprain are often result from landing after jump over kicks or kicks with spinning of body. Cause of injuries may be due to poor landing skills, weak proprioception or insufficient muscle eccentric strength.

Landing skills

Poor landing skills will cause sudden stress on joints leading to sprain injuries. Landing skills can be improved by landing training to correct mechanics and improve proprioception. Training with single leg landing and hoping movements are desirable to improve landing skills.

  • Landing on balance pad
  • Single leg hopping


Proprioception is the sense of joint within its alignment which directly related to balance. Weak proprioception can be caused by previous injuries or improper joint alignment. The risk of injury is high as the body does not know if the joints are in correct position and thats when sprain injuries occurs. Proprioception training is a way to solve the issue.

  • Single leg balance training
  • Single leg squats

Eccentric strength

Muscles act as a break of joints preventing it from going too far and causing sprain injuries.  Meanwhile, eccentric strength is the force generated by muscle to contract itself when it is being stretched. Insufficient eccentric strength prohibit the muscle to contract with enough force to stop the joint from going too far. Resistance training with slow and decelerating movement enhance eccentric strength.

  • Squats with slow downward movement
  • Calf raise with slow downward movement

Muscle Strain

Muscle strain is another major injury observed in Taekwondo athletes. Hamstrings strain are common among Taekwondo athletes where poor eccentric strength and flexibility are major risk factors of muscle strain.

Eccentric strength

Eccentric strength is essential to muscles being stretched repetitively as protection from strain injuries. Strain injuries are caused by sudden stretch in muscles and tissues unable to hold itself together thus leading to tissue tear. Training like continuous kicking on target or sudden movements and vigorous change of direction in sparring training require good eccentric strength for injury prevention. Improved eccentric strength prevents muscle from sudden stretch and thus prevent strain injuries.

  • Nordic hamstrings curls
  • Resisted knee extensions with slow kicking movement

Insufficient flexibility

Good flexibility can provide more room for the muscle to be stretched. Muscle strain is due to overstretch on tight muscle in exercise sometimes. Common movements like turning kick and snap kick require a lot on hamstrings flexibility. Insufficient flexibility in hamstrings is directly related to strain injuries. Improving flexibility by stretching and foam rolling are ideal training on flexibility.

  • Hamstrings stretching
  • Foam rolling on hamstrings

Special credit to Ngai Mo Alliance Taekwondo – Kwun Tong for providing photos.

Post by Shan Lam