Among athletes, knee injury is a predisposing factor towards the development of knee osteoarthritis (OA). (Molloy & Molloy, 2011). Other joints may be at risk for overuse injuries and OA, but it is the knees in particular that seem to occupy a special place in the realm of chronic injuries. Recognizing the risks of an activity allows for the development of injury-prevention programs specific to it’s demands and conditions. Although many martial artists don’t identify themselves as athletes, the demands of training are inherently athletic and the effects of training on the body are no different from those of athletic training.
Fighting arts and sports pose inherent risks to joint health, particularly acute or chronic injuries associated with the knees. A case by case analysis of the training activities and priorities of the various combat sports and so-called martial arts would be necessary to discuss the risk of a certain format or style, but several mechanisms of injury are common to many:
- rapid and asymmetrical loading and unloading of joints during throws, tackles, sweeps, etc.
- bounding, cutting and darting movements, often under external load or force
- impact trauma from falls, kicks, sweeps
- compressive, shearing, tension and torsional trauma from joint manipulations