African Journal for Physical Activity and Health Sciences

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Incidence of karate-related musculoskeletal pain among SKISA Karatekas

TJ Ellapen, S Abrahams, FA Desai, S Narsigan, HJ van Heerden


Over the past decade, there has been heightened interest in the philosophy, training habits, nutrition and epidemiology of martial arts athletes. Despite this interest in martial arts, there is a dearth of information on the epidemiology and training history of unique Karate martial arts athletes, more specifically Shotokhan Karate-Do- International South Africa (SKISA) karatekas. This study investigated the incidence of
karate-related musculoskeletal pain among SKISA athletes, as well as their training history. One hundred and sixty male and female karatekas participated in a retrospective epidemiological investigation by voluntary informed consent. Subjects were martial artists belonging to SKISA who congregated at the 2010 National SKISA Kanazawa-Cup Tournament. The subjects’ training history and incidence of karaterelated musculoskeletal pain were gathered employing a self-report musculoskeletal pain questionnaire. Descriptive and inferential statistics were employed in the statistical analysis. Out of the 160 karatekas who responded to the questionnaire, 61.88% (n=99) experienced karate-related musculoskeletal pain (p<0.01). The incidence of karaterelated musculoskeletal pain was as follow: lower extremities (54.65%), upper extremities (41.09%) and neck (4.24%) (p<0.01). Incidence of karate-related musculoskeletal pain specific to anatomical sites were: hand (18.64%), feet (16.95%), leg (14.41%), knee (12.29%), back (11.86%), shoulder (8.47%), neck (4.24%), elbow (2.12%), and others (11%) (p<0.01). The predisposing mechanism producing karaterelated musculoskeletal pain was direct physical trauma (59.59%) from semi-contact (p<0.01). Other factors were overuse injuries, non-compliance to rehabilitation programmes and lack of seeking medical attention when experiencing musculoskeletal pain. SKISA athletes did experience a high incidence of karate-related musculoskeletal
pain, especially at their hands (18.64%) and feet (16.95%) (p<0.01).

Keywords: Karate, musculoskeletal pain, semi-contact, SKISA Karatekas.

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