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Epidemiology of injuries in elite taekwondo athletes: two Olympic periods cross-sectional retrospective study
  1. Albert Altarriba-Bartes1,2,
  2. Franchek Drobnic3,4,
  3. Lluís Til2,4,
  4. Nikolaos Malliaropoulos5,6,
  5. José Bruno Montoro7,
  6. Alfredo Irurtia8
  1. 1Performance Department, New York Red Bulls, New York, New York, USA
  2. 2Care and Preventive Sport Unit (UAPE-CAR), Health Consortium of Terrassa–High Performance Sports Centre of Sant Cugat del Vallés, Barcelona, Spain
  3. 3Research Department of High Performance Sports Centre, Sant Cugat del Vallés, Barcelona, Spain
  4. 4Medical Services of FC Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
  5. 5National Track & Field Centre, Sports Injury Clinic, Sports Medicine Clinic of S.E.G.A.S., Thessaloniki, Greece
  6. 6Thessaloniki Sports Medicine Clinic, Thessaloniki, Greece
  7. 7Pharmacology Department, University Hospital of Vall d'Hebron, Barcelona, Spain
  8. 8Sports Performance Department, National Institute of Physical Education of Catalonia, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
  1. Correspondence to Dr Albert Altarriba-Bartes; albertaltarriba{at} or altarribartes{at}


Objective Taekwondo injuries differ according to the characteristics of the athletes and the competition. This analytical cross-sectional retrospective cohort study aimed to describe reported taekwondo injuries and to determine the prevalence, characteristics and possible risk factors for injuries sustained by athletes of the Spanish national team. In addition, we compared each identified risk factor—age, weight category, annual quarter, injury timing and competition difficulty level—with its relation to injury location and type.

Settings Injury occurrences in taekwondo athletes of the Spanish national team during two Olympic periods at the High Performance Centre in Barcelona were analysed.

Participants 48 taekwondo athletes (22 male, 26 female; age range 15–31 years) were studied; 1678 injury episodes occurred. Inclusion criteria were: (1) having trained with the national taekwondo group for a minimum of one sports season; (2) being a member of the Spanish national team.

Results Independently of sex or Olympic period, the anatomical sites with most injury episodes were knee (21.3%), foot (17.0%), ankle (12.2%), thigh (11.4%) and lower leg (8.8%). Contusions (29.3%) and cartilage (17.6%) and joint (15.7%) injuries were the prevalent types of injury. Chronological age, weight category and annual quarter can be considered risk factors for sustaining injuries in male and female elite taekwondists according to their location and type (p≤0.001).

Conclusions This study provides epidemiological information that will help to inform future injury surveillance studies and the development of prevention strategies and recommendations to reduce the number of injuries in taekwondo competition.

  • Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation Medicine

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