temporomandibular disorders in MMA and Karate

Facial trauma in sports has been associated with temporomandibular disorders. Because of the intensity and duration of training needed for elite-level competitions, high-performance athletes can have two to five times more traumatic injuries than recreational athletes. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of temporomandibular disorders in high-performance martial arts fighters and compare it with the prevalence in recreational athletes and non-athletes.


The Research Diagnostic Criteria for Temporomandibular Disorders was used to diagnose and classify professional karate-do practitioners (group I; n = 24), amateur karate-do practitioners (group II; n = 17), high-performance mixed martial arts fighters (group III; n = 13), and non-athletes (n = 28). The groups were compared with the chi-square test and tested for the difference between two proportions using a significance level of 5% (P < 0.05).


The prevalence of temporomandibular disorders in groups I (54.2%; P = 0.003) and III (61.5%; P = 0.002) was significantly higher than in group IV (14.3%). The prevalence in group II was similar to that in group IV (P > 0.05). A diagnosis of arthralgia from disk displacement was made more frequently in groups I (45.8%; P = 0.013) and III (38.5%; P = 0.012) than in group IV (7.1%). The chronic pain associated with TMD was low intensity and low disability.


While there was a high prevalence of temporomandibular disorders in the professional athletes in our study, the prevalence of the condition in recreational athletes was similar to that in individuals who did not practice martial arts.


Dent Traumatol. 2015 Oct 29. doi: 10.1111/edt.12238. [Epub ahead of print] Professional karate-do and mixed martial arts fighters present with a high prevalence of temporomandibular disorders. Bonotto D1, Namba EL2, Veiga DM1, Wandembruck F1, Mussi F1, Afonso Cunali P1, Ribeiro Rosa EA3, Azevedo-Alanis LR3. Author information 1Federal University of Paraná, Curitiba, Pr, Brazil. 2Positivo University, Curitiba, Pr, Brazil. 3Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná, Curitiba, Pr, Brazil.


‘It ain’t so much the things we don’t know that get us in trouble. It’s the things we know that ain’t so’
– Artemus Ward