Is Muay Thai Dangerous? [Solved]

By Logan •  Updated: 03/04/22 •  6 min read

Muay Thai sparring is dangerous, but Muay Thai training is far less so. A study performed by the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed that approximately 13.5 percent of training beginners can expect to be injured while practicing Muay Thai, compared to approximately 3 percent of training professionals.

However, the competitive contact sport of Muay Thai, in which two participants spar, can be especially dangerous, causing serious injuries from concussions to broken bones.

In this article, let’s explore the varying degrees of danger in the sport of Muay Thai, common injuries, and injury prevention technique so you can protect yourself when practicing this martial art.

Is Muay Thai Dangerous?

How Dangerous Is Muay Thai Training?

Muay Thai training is not very dangerous, and you shouldn’t expect to be seriously injured. Unlike the striking sport of Muay Thai sparring, Muay Thai training is more about learning the punches, elbows, kicks, knees, teeps, and clinches that the professionals use in fights.

Much like people who train in kickboxing will never actually enter a ring, Muay Thai training is meant to be a great workout and exercise in fitness and self-defense. It is a non-competitive fitness regimen.

Overall, Muay Thai training is considered safe. Your coach will teach you how to perform the various moves safely, and instruct you if any safety equipment is necessary.

With that said, even non-competitive Muay Thai practitioners should expect some non-serious injuries such as bruises, bumps, and even minor strains. Most injuries will be considered soft tissue injuries and do not require medical attention.

How Dangerous Is Muay Thai sparring?

Muay Thai sparring is very dangerous and can land its participants in the hospital with broken bones and head injuries for the more competitive participants.

Muay Thai sparring is the competitive sport of Muay Thai, or Thai Boxing. As you’ll learn in training, sparring utilizes eight points of contact including swinging punches, knees, elbow strikes, and kicks to your stomach. This makes it that much more likely that someone will be injured.

However, some gyms will allow more experienced participants to spar with appropriate partners for their level, under supervision and with proper safety equipment. Since the objective is not to win but to improve, most people in a gym environment will keep the sparring lighthearted and fun.

Common Muay Thai Injuries

Injuries to lower extremities are most common in Muay Thai. Soft tissue injuries are common no matter your skill level (such as bruises and bumps), according to the British Journal of Sports Medicine study. Fractures were the second most common type of injury in that study. The injury rate for Muay Thai was found to be the same or similar to that of other contact sports such as Karate and Taekwondo.

Anyone training in Muay Thai through a gym can expect injuries such as:

How To Prevent Muay Thai Injuries

To prevent Muay Thai injuries, make sure you’re practicing safely by using the proper equipment, receiving proper training, taking care of yourself before and after training sessions, and allowing yourself to heal if you are injured.

Proper Muay Thai equipment for training includes gloves, a mouthguard, ankle wraps, hand wraps, shin guards, and comfortable clothing.

For sparring, you’ll want heavier duty boxing gloves, headgear, groin protection, a customized mouth guard, and elbow and knee pads. As always in Muay Thai, mutual respect between you and your sparring partner should be observed at all times. This is not a win or lose situation, and strikes to joints and the back of someone’s head are expressly forbidden.

To prevent injuries, be sure to stretch before every session. Pay special attention to stretching your neck, shoulders, and back.

After each session, ice any areas that feel like they could be sore. Shins are a likely place to start, and some Thai boxing experts swear by using a muscle liniment oil on your shines before you start practicing to relieve pain later.

Look to your kru, or teacher, for proper training and always ask them if you’re ready to move on to sparring. Also ask your kru if you’re properly using equipment, such as hand and ankle wraps, to prevent wrist and ankle sprains.

When it comes to sparring, never spar without your kru’s express permission and endorsement. Allow them to match you to someone who is appropriate to spar with. As a beginner, you may think it’s best to spar with another beginner, but that’s not always the case. Beginners often go in hard and competitively, which could lead to injuries for both you and your partner.

Final Thoughts 

Muay Thai is a combat sport that has become popular all over the world. It is often referred to as the “art of eight limbs” because it uses punches, kicks, elbows, and knees. 

Training Muay Thai isn’t dangerous if done properly with the guidance of a kru. Sparring however, like most combat sports can be dangerous as you are likely to get punched or kicked. With proper training the chance of getting injured is reduced, just remember to train as much as possible before heading into a sparring competition.


Hi, I've been an avid MMA fan all my life. I've been training in martial arts for the last 5 years and wanted to share some of the tips and tricks that I've picked up along the way to help to aspiring martial artists get started.

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