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Is Muay Thai Bad For Knees?

knee pain

Knee strikes are mostly trademarks of Muay Thai, but Thai boxing can cause serious damage to your knee joints. You must pay a lot of attention to your moves if you don’t want to end your career due to an ACL or PCL surgery.

is muay thai bad for knees

Many practitioners would like to know the answer to the question ‘is Muay Thai bad for knees’. I’m not gonna lie to you. Thai boxing is dangerous. But it depends on you. Follow my guidelines and you can help your knees. Do as you wish and you could end your fighting career way earlier.

This article will get to know you about potential knee risks in Muay Thai. You can sharply reduce the risk of injury by strengthening your knees. There are specific sets of high-quality drills. Please read on to get to know how Muay Thai affects your joints.

Knee Alignment And Risks

A good position that reduces injuries heavily depends on the direction of your joint. To minimize the chances of injuries, make sure that your knee points in the same direction as your toes, hips, knees, ankle, and foot. If all of them are in the same plane, the answer to the question ‘is Muay Thai bad for knees’ is no!

In any other scenario, accept the risks. You’ll visit a doctor at some point in your life. You’re probably wondering what the hell am I talking about, are you?

The knee joint is designed to flex and extend. The injury is less likely to happen when the joint is in straight alignment. When your knee is flexed it can also take part in external and internal rotation, but it rarely happens in the world of Muay Thai. The worst thing you can do is rotate your knee during kicks. You must rotate your hip joint to evade injury.

Well, a correct stance and good striking technique lead to fewer injuries. Please read the next paragraph to get into the spirit of the problem.

The Stance Secret – Is Muay Thai Bad For Knees?


All right, I’m done with the general discussion. Now I will answer the question ‘is Muay Thai bad for knees’. No, when you maintain the correct stance. Yes, if your kicking technique is poor. There are two very critical points – when you’re out of balance, and when your knee is overextended.

Evading overextension is tricky, especially during explosive movements. But you can train your stance in front of the mirror and reduces your chances of injuries.

Front Knee Secret

You must stay away from rotating your knee internally or externally by any means necessary. When you check the kick, your hip makes a move, not your knee.

Whenever you look down at your feet, you must see your toes. If you cannot see your toes, this means your knee is overextended or bent too forward. This is code red because it adds an abnormal amount of pressure on your patella.

If your front knee is rotated inwards and misaligned with your toes, it is a sign of excessive internal rotation. A calf kick or an inside low kick might mean a career-ending injury to your knee. Your front knee must be pointed down.

Back Knee Secret

When it comes to the back knee, the situation is kinda different, as it controls your defensive movement and footwork. Yet, the answer to the question ‘is Muay Thai bad for knees’ depends on your back knee too.

The back knee should point in the same direction as your toes. I know this is hard when you exchange strikes, but at least make sure to follow this rule when you assume the Muay Thai stance. Do not misalign your back knee with your toes, this is also a sign of excessive internal rotation.

Now let’s compare the front and back knees. The misalignment of your leading knee leads to more serious injuries because this leg often gets hit in the battle. You’ll rarely see a low kick to the back leg, plus you rotate around your leading leg when you’re trying to evade a very aggressive opponent.

Critical Strikes

The list of critical strikes is huge. If you’d like to back up the answer yes to the question ‘is Muay Thai bad for knees’, you should stay away from these strikes. I know, it sounds like a top-notch Sci-Fi movie, but my job is to give you a recommendation. You can follow the advice, but you don’t have to. Critical shots are:

  • Inside low kick
  • Outside low kick
  • All kinds of calf kicks
  • Jon Jones’ ankle picks
  • Oblique kicks
  • Dutch low kicks
  • Counter teep kicks
  • Side-kick to the body
  • All kinds of jumping kicks (especially when you land).

Knee Braces – Yes Or No

There are two types of knee braces, and each one has a different purpose.

knee braces

For example, structural support is very useful if you previously suffered an ACL or PCL injury. These braces are highly recommended for the dangerous knee injury recovery process. It adds support and reduces the chance of injury recurrence.

Pain relief braces will reduce the level of pain, but you don’t get better support. This is a great recommendation for fighters with chronic injury.

My advice is if you are worried about a knee injury or you already had one before always wear knee pads during the training season.

How To Prevent And Correct Risky Movement Patterns

Sorry guys, but there is no magic wand. I recommend you hire an expert coach and work on your stance and kicking techniques every single day. Practice makes perfect.

I will give you one example. If your oblique kick includes unnecessary internal rotation, it means 50% greater chances of injury. The answer to the question ‘is Muay Thai bad for knees’ could be no, but only for kicking and stance experts. Train and think about your training, that’s the only way.


It is hard to answer the question ‘is Muay Thai bad for knees’. You can hurt yourself during the fight, but good stance and kicking techniques will reduce the chances of injuries. Pay attention to your knee alignment, stance, and kicks; an injury might keep you sidelined for a long time!

Last Updated on June 17, 2022 by Deni

Picture of Deni


Hi, I started training Muay Thai back in 2016 and fell in love with it. So I decided to create this blog in the pursuit of this passion and share my experience with you.

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