Karate: Why do I experience knee pain?

Fact Checked

Knee pain that develop from karate might indicate various issues. Even though most injuries from karate include head trauma and bruises, knee injuries are also common. Always bear in mind that the knees are subjected to beating while practicing the sport that can range from kicking on posts, horse stance, impact, constant bending and explosive motions.

Possible causes of knee pain

Rotational injuries

The rotational injuries usually occur once the balance is poor or the individual has a lazy form. The knees are required to function as hinges and attempting to adjust the position by turning the body without moving the foot puts significant strain on the ligaments and tendons.

It is vital to pay close attention when trying out new moves and it is recommended to slowly move through the new actions until the individual is certain that he/she is capable and has enough balance to perform them safely.

Knee pain
If the knee pain becomes worse over the course of a few days, a doctor should be consulted.

Overuse injuries

Overuse is the usual reason why knee pain occurs during karate. In case the knee pain affects the sides of the joint, it is likely due to iliotibial band syndrome. If the pain occurs on the front of the knee, it might be patellofemoral syndrome.

These are common injuries in other sports and can lead to lasting issues if not properly managed. The repetitive strain on the joint which supports the weight of the body can become worn out.

It is recommended to strengthen the hamstrings and quadriceps as well as paying close attention to the right form to prevent or help avoid triggering the pain.


While practicing kicking into the air, it is not advised to kick in full force especially during ball kicks. The front kicks are powered by core strength, hip flexors and the quadriceps.

For strong individuals, these muscles might be stronger than the knee joint. If the individual kicks in full force into the air without a solid object to stop the arc, it can lead to hyperextension of the leg. This can also occur after taking a blow and can even tear the anterior cruciate ligament in severe cases.

When to seek care

In case the knee pain is abrupt, severe or occurs along with swelling, it is best to set an appointment with a doctor. The mild symptoms can be readily managed using the RICE method (rest, ice, compression and elevation) while pain medications such as ibuprofen can be given to minimize the inflammation and swelling.

If the knee pain becomes worse over the course of a few days, a doctor should be consulted. This might indicate a serious injury that must be carefully assessed by a doctor.

Was this post helpful?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top

  • All stmarkjamestraining.ca content is reviewed by a medical professional and / sourced to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

  • We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable websites, academic research institutions and medical articles.

  • If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please contact us through our contact us page.

The information posted on this page is for educational purposes only.
If you need medical advice or help with a diagnosis contact a medical professional