CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 · Sports Med Int Open 2020; 4(02): E53-E58
DOI: 10.1055/a-1168-9167
Orthopedics & Biomechanics

Pain Perception in Taekwondo: Relationship to Injury, Experience, and Time Loss

1  Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, United States
Abdullah Kandil
2  Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of California Irvine, Irvine, United States
Danh V. Nguyen
3  Institute for Clinical and Translational Science, University of California Irvine, Irvine, United States
4  Department of Medicine, University of California Irvine, Irvine, United States
Luis Campos
5  Department of Statistics, Harvard University, Cambridge, United States
Nirav H. Amin
6  Orthopedic Surgery, Restore Orthopedics & Spine Center, Orange, United States
Eric Y. Chang
7  Interventional Pain, Sports, Rehabilitation & Regenerative Medicine, Restore Orthopedics & Spine Center, Orange, United States
› Author Affiliations
Funding This work was supported in part by grant K12 HD001097 (E.C.) and grant UL1 TR000153 (E.C., D.V.N.) from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences through the Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design Unit of UC Irvine Institute for Clinical Translational Science.


While the majority of sports medicine literature discusses the incidence and rehabilitation of sports injuries, there is a paucity regarding an athlete’s perception of pain during these injuries. This study describes the relationship between the perception of pain from injuries in a Taekwondo collegiate conference and injury characteristics such as injury type, location, mechanism, time loss, and the athlete’s competitive experience. In our study, we obtained reports from 62 Taekwondo athletes who were injured during the 2008–2009 Pacific West Taekwondo Conference collegiate season. Pain was recorded using the Numeric Rating Scale for Pain during athletes’ acute injury and at two weeks, six weeks, and subsequent monthly follow-ups. Pain scores were highest for sprain/strains (mean 5.4, standard error 0.47) and injuries to the lower body (mean 5.6, standard error 0.36). By mechanism, falls (mean 5.8, standard error 0.67) reported the highest levels of pain. There was a significant positive association between pain and time loss, where an increase in pain score of 1 point was associated with about 0.85 days (standard error 0.37) of time lost from training (p=0.0284). Notably, head injuries, although potentially more devastating and attracting widespread concern, were considered less painful.

Supporting Information

Publication History

Received: 10 February 2020
Received: 22 April 2020

02 May 2020

Publication Date:
24 June 2020 (online)

© 2020. Thieme. All rights reserved.

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG
Stuttgart · New York