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I practice sparring in Muay Thai and occasionally I get a strong punch to the nose. It has never bled but for some reason it hurts for days. I am worried about an even stronger punch breaking my nose. Is this likely to occur with strong aggressive opponents in sparring? How much impact is required to incur damage to the nose? Is this something that should worry me?

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4 Answers

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Yes, you have a high risk of getting your nose broken at some stage if you continue with Muay Thai. It isn't Tiddly Winks* - you will eventually get an injury, not just from landed punches but also from kicks.

If you are at all attached to your nose (pun intended) the reconsider Muay Thai. Personally I've had my nose broken half a dozen times or more - the last time it took me several days to straighten it.

Is this something that should worry me?

I would say no, you should be concerned. Will it hurt at the time? Yes, sure it will. It will also help teach you what not to do, and help break down any mental barriers you have about getting hurt.

Will any damage be lasting?

Yes it can be lasting, but that depends on how hard you get hit and what your medical resources are. If your nose gets repeatedly pummeled or hit badly then you could end up with - to keep it simple - crooked airways which will interfere with regular nasal breathing (i.e. could cause you to snuffle or snore). These injuries are usually fairly easy to fix with surgery, but then that may also curtail your Muay Thai practice if you don't want to repeat the problem.

So, should you be concerned for your nose? No you shouldn't. Instead you should be concerned for more serious injuries such as concussion and various knee/leg ailments.

I should also take the time to debunk the myth about driving the nose cartilage into the brain - it's a fabrication of Hollywood.

*Note that Tom Brady is not the sports person who coined this phrase...

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great answer, could you tell me with any description how much force you think is needed behind a punch to break a nose? –  Vass Feb 2 at 1:46
    
@Vass It totally depends on the nose cartilage being struck (it will vary per person), but in general it doesn't take a lot of force at all - the same force as generated via a push up (per your comment below) would do it. –  slugster Feb 4 at 3:24
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depends on how hard you spar and how well you protect your dome. You shouldn't get a broken nose in sparring unless you're not wearing headgear and/or getting ready for a fight. Otherwise you should have headgear on and not going full force anyway. But different gyms, different flavors.

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Denmark Uylenbr, how would it compare to the strength put into a pushup? –  Vass Feb 4 at 1:17
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I have no idea how to answer that. Hit people hard enough that they feel it, but not hard enough to hurt them? It also depends on the person you're sparring, and I hit harder to the body than to the head - I don't want to cause anyone brain trauma, they need their brain to learn. –  Thomas Denmark Uylenbroek Feb 4 at 6:28
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If you want to prevent a nose injury use headgear that protects your face . Here is an example http://store.titleboxing.com/facprottrain.html

Otherwise, broken noses are common injuries to unprotected faces. Broken noses can affect your quality of life by affecting your appearance and breathing.

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5 years of sparring / competitions, I would say that the likely hood of getting an injured nose is low, but it is still there.

Most injuries i suffered on the head are basically on the jaw and side of the heads. *Ouch.

The main thing to remember if you get injured in your nose is that if it bleeds for more than a day, please get an Xray as it might be broken.

I've suffered nose bleed in the past, which mostly comes from jabs to the face. There were no serious injuries however.

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