Martial Artists Suffer From More TMDs

Richard Gawel


It’s no surprise that sports can lead to facial trauma and temporomandibular disorders (TMDs). In fact, high-performance athletes can have 2 to 5 times more traumatic injuries than recreational athletes—and the rates for martial artists are significantly higher.

Researchers from Brazil used the Research Diagnostic Criteria for Temporomandibular Disorders to diagnose and classify professional karate-do practitioners (n = 24), amateur karate-do practitioners (n = 17), high-performance mixed martial arts fighters (n = 13), and non-athletes (n = 28). They also compared the groups with the chi-square test and tested for the difference between 2 proportions using a significance level of 5% (P < 0.05).

According to the data, 61.5% of the high-performance mixed martial artists and 54.2% of the professional karate-do athletes had TMDs. Only 14.3% of the non-athletes showed a TMD, with similar results for the amateur karate-do practitioners. The chronic pain associated with TMD was of low intensity with low disability.

The study, “Professional Karate-do and Mixed Martial Arts Fighters Present with a High Prevalence of Temporomandibular Disorders,” was published by Dental Traumatology.

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