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Br J Sports Med. 2013 Dec;47(18):1139-43. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2013-092886.

Injuries in judo: a systematic literature review including suggestions for prevention.

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Department of Sport Science, University of Innsbruck, , Innsbruck, Austria.



There is limited knowledge on epidemiological injury data in judo.


To systematically review scientific literature on the frequency and characteristics of injuries in judo.


The available literature up to June 2013 was searched for prospective as well as retrospective studies on injuries in judo. Data extraction and presentation focused on the incidence rate, injury risk, types, location and causes of injuries.


During the Olympic Games in 2008 and 2012, an average injury risk of about 11-12% has been observed. Sprains, strains and contusions, usually of the knee, shoulder and fingers, were the most frequently reported injuries, whereas being thrown was the most common injury mechanism. Severe injuries were quite rare and usually affected the brain and spine, whereas chronic injuries typically affected the finger joints, lower back and ears. The most common types of injuries in young judo athletes were contusions/abrasions, fractures and sprains/strains. Sex-differences data on judo injuries were mostly inconsistent. Some studies suggested a relationship between nutrition, hydration and/or weight cycling and judo injuries. Also, psychological factors may increase the risk of judo injuries.


The present review provides the latest knowledge on the frequency and characteristics of injuries in judo. Comprehensive knowledge about the risk of injury during sport activity and related risk factors represents an essential basis to develop effective strategies for injury prevention. Thus, the introduction of an ongoing injury surveillance system in judo is of utmost importance.


Injury Prevention; Judo; Martial Arts; Sporting Injuries

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