Black, Blue & Loving It: Common Injuries for Muay Thai Beginners


Injuries are common in most contact sports, and even more so in combat sports.

So you can just imagine how it is in Muay Thai. It's as common as being on the receiving end of an elbow or roundhouse strike. Virtually any strike or sequence can do it, too, serving up the terror of earning a random injury to the menu.

Are you thinking about taking up Muay Thai? Have you been to an open session at your local Muay Thai gym? Have you watched a lot of Muay Thai fights?

Are you truly mentally (not to mention physically) prepared for this? 

Today, we're talking the ugly side of Muay Thai: injuries - black, blue and otherwise.


Muay Thai is a beautiful martial art which many even recognize as an art form. When its combatants or even sparring partners are in sync, the exchanges are spectacles to behold.

Practicing Muay Thai can mesmerize and inspire. There is a rush of adrenaline that even spectators can feel. Many a casual observer can become an instant fan that is raring to go into the sport.

But there's a flip side to all that beauty, because make no mistake about it: Muay Thai can be a brutal sport. The fact that you have eight weapons at your disposal all but guarantees it.

So there it is: the ever-present threat of injuries. Whether in training, sparring, or actual fights, you will earn your fair share of pain and punishment.

Compounding that equation is your level of experience. Beginners have it the worst. 

Indeed, beginners are not exempt from the realities of the sport. They are just as prone to some common injuries as the most grizzled nak muays (see two exceptionally grizzled examples on the right).

So before you get a cut on your eyebrow or a bruised shin, check out some of the most common injuries for MT beginners.

It might just solidify your choice: is Muay Thai really for you?

Why You Should Fight Muay Thai in Thailand


To Muay Thai beginners, common injuries typically serve as more than simple reminders of the physical nature of the sport. They also often serve as barometers of just how dedicated an individual is to the sport of Muay Thai.

"Just how badly do you want to pursue Muay Thai?"

The best time to answer that question is when you start coping with cuts, bruises, sprains, and all of these extremely common ailments.

  1. Muscle Aches and Pains

Aching muscles is one of the most common injuries suffered by beginners - not just in Muay Thai but in almost any other contact sport. 

You could even say that it is mandatory - like a rite of passage - for a Muay Thai practitioner to experience this. If your muscles are not sore after training your first time, then you're not trying hard enough.

Muscle aches and pains are normal, but if it seems more than normal, then you might need to rest for a couple of days. Treat your aching muscles to a good massage or rub in some Thai liniment if you have access to any.

  1. Knuckle Bruises

Knuckle bruises are among the very first injuries you will encounter in your Muay Thai training. This is a common bruise for practitioners of MT and boxing. 

The reason is because your knuckles are still not used to punching and its impact. Your skin is still tender around the area. As you train more, your knuckles are going to get harder and tougher.

There might be some cases when the knuckle bruises are going to persist. One of the best remedies for that is to switch to a heavier pair of gloves. There’s more protection for your knuckles and your hands in general.

  1. Wrist Soreness

Wrist soreness is another common injury that beginners usually experience. It usually happens because the individual does not have the proper form when punching.

The first solution is to make sure that your hands are properly wrapped. You will also need to use gloves that provide ample support for your wrists. 

To avoid Muay Thai injuries like wrist soreness, beginners need to avoid punching the heavy bag or pads with too much power. That is, until they get the mechanics of proper punching right.

If the soreness is minor then you can expect it to go away fairly soon. And if you want it to go away even faster, then you can apply some simple treatment.

  1. Shin Soreness

Shin soreness is another injury that is almost inevitable for Muay Thai practitioners. It’s no secret that the shins are one of the main weapons in the sport, so it’s expected.

The key here is to learn the correct way to kick with your shins. If you do it incorrectly, you are not likely to forget the pain any time soon, and if you are a beginner, chances are that you are going to kick the wrong way more often than not.

To resolve the issue is to practice and continue working on your kicking technique. Once you get your technique right, shin pain is not going to bother you as much.

Treat the soreness of your shins so you can get back to training right away. There are several ways to treat shin soreness, such as:

  • Thai Liniment
  • Massage
  • Ice
  1. Bruised Ribs

Several rib injuries can be sustained by beginners in Muay Thai. It can be a rib muscle strain or it can be a fracture.

This is usually caused by being kicked or punched hard during sparring. Recovery time for this type of injury varies. It depends on the severity of the rib injury.

If it is a minor muscle strain then you should be able to train again after just a few days off. But if it is something more serious, such as an injury to your rib cartilage, it will take several weeks to heal.

Injuries are part of Muay Thai. In fact, they're a major part of it. Whether it's training or actual fighting, you should expect to deal with or more of the common injuries listed above.

Some might find it strange but having to deal with injuries is an excellent way to know yourself better. How you react to the pain will reveal a lot and it will help you determine if Muay Thai and martial arts in general is for you.

So expect the injuries and be ready for it. But don’t be consumed by it. Enjoy your training and enjoy Muay Thai.

Because no matter how brutal it might sometimes seem, remember it is an art that needs to be experienced to be fully enjoyed. 

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