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How to Avoid Foot Injuries - Using the Teep in Sparring


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Before I started muay thai, I fight in sanda rules ("chinese kick-box", also with throws and leg grabs). 

I was always afraid to kick the body, because in sanda we rather use our feet, not shins, when we kick, and it was so painful when I accidentaly kicked my opponent's elbow. 

And my friend's foot broke actually by this: she kicked, and her opponent used elbow as a guard. 

 

I started muay thai, I've learnt to kick with my shins, and slowly I started to be "brave" enough to kick to the body. It's still painful when I kick an elbow, but my shins became harder 🙂

 

And now... We had sparring at training (2 weeks ago), my training partner was a beginner man.  He didn't know how to defense, or catch leg, he just moved instinctively. 

I teeped him - he pushed forward his elbows ---> extreme pain in my foot. 

Next day I couldn't stand on my injured foot, so I went to a hospital. 

X-Ray, diagnosis: IV. metatarsal bone is broken. 

 

I can't walk,  just with crutches, it means a month "rest". I hate it, I'm worried if it will be normal again, etc... 🙂

 

So, okay, I never experienced this, when I spar or fight with a non-starter opponent. I never used my elbow to defend a teep.

But really...  You can't strenghten up your feet.  And I don't want to be afraid to use teeps.  

How can you avoid this? 

 

 

 

 

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Oh gosh! I'm so sorry to hear you have to deal with such a painful injury....This is exactly why I don't spar with beginners, I'm more scared of them then of a veteran, at least they know what they're doing.

I'm also scared of hurting my feet while teeping or doing a front kick to the body and I am currently working on this. For me - the key to dealing with the stress is control of the kick. When I see I can land the kick 99% sure, then I will kick it. If I see the opponent is seeing the kick and getting ready to block, I will stop my kick mid-movement. So basically, I decide last moment if I'm going through with it or not. So far it has worked out fine for me, I've landed a few kicks, had to withdraw from a lot more, but control control control is what rescues me.

I never had a broken foot, so I can only tell from observance, but a lot of people come back after some rehabilitation. It's important to take care of the healed foot, so you can't jump right into hard training with it, but you need to "teach" the new bone the strenght you want it to have. I don't know if this explanation is understandable, I hope it is! :) 

I hope your doctor allows you tokeep at least a bit active during the healing process, maybe you can do some light strenght excercises of the upper-body, or stretching? This way you won't have the feeling of wasting your time.

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There are two places where Thais teep which would be hard to catch an elbow from a beginner. Up higher above the solar plexis, and also very low on the abdomen. This lower teep can be very fatiguing. When Sylvie's been shown this low teep they usually use the ball of the foot, or sometimes even the toes. Also, practicing accuracy, instead of just a general mid-teep, could be more fun or challenging. Maybe Sylvie can hop on and talk about this lower teep. It's very effective.

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I used to kick elbows more than I do now and, like Micc says, I think that's about control. Both you controlling your kick but also your opponent controlling their elbows! We all have reflexes though, so you can't rely on the other person having control all the time. If you're kicking the body, the more "upward" your kick goes (I call this the "farang kick") the more likely you're going to hit an elbow. If you kick "over" more, you'll nail the body under the elbow rather than kicking into it.

The teep Kevin mentions is one that a fighter named Paowarit (fight name Kae Sasiprapa) taught me. You teep with your toes right under the belly button. You don't use a great deal of power, but man... it hurts! It's like being stabbed more than being knocked back. Taking care when you teep someone is also a way to protect yourself. Defensive teeps are less likely to result in the flinch-response that people who drop their hands/elbows have with offensive teeps. So, wait until they're on one leg from a knee or kick and teep as a counter, rather than as a way to offensively come forward yourself.

And lastly, either request that your coach teach everyone drills on teep defense, so that your group of potential partners can learn how to appropriately sweep teeps without hurting each other, or at the very least work on this in a very controlled way with your partner before getting into sparring.

Sorry about your foot :pinch:   You can, of course, rest the injury while still working on other things. You don't have to stay out of the gym entirely.

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I am the king of foot injuries I think I've gotten some nasty metatarsal/toe injuries three times in the last six months. They take FOREVER to heal. Try to keep your feet elevated whenever you can, not a lot you can do to heal faster. I haven't figured out how to correct whatever I am doing, but they have all happened during offensive teeps while sparring. I think control and working on accuracy are great responses though. Practice, practice, practice.

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I am the king of foot injuries I think I've gotten some nasty metatarsal/toe injuries three times in the last six months. They take FOREVER to heal. Try to keep your feet elevated whenever you can, not a lot you can do to heal faster. 

 

My doctor said, it takes 3 weeks to heal.  I was happy: "ok, that's nothing"

Well, now it was 19 days ago and I still can't stand on my foot.  When I wear shoes, it's better, but without shoes... hurts like the first day.  

knowthatfeel.jpg

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The first and worst metatarsal injury I had took about 10 weeks to heal. Lol I couldn't believe it. I didn't take great care of it though, tried to tough it out and kept walking on it. I don't recommend that course of action lol. You might try getting a tub and filling it with really hot water to soak your foot, then switch to ice water. Just keep alternating. That seems to help me a little bit. Hope you heal up soon!

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Today I went back to the doctor, and he gave me this super-fashionable, pretty shoe... :D   I must wear it for 2 weeks, it looks terrible, but I can walk at least.
 

Now I'm watching Sylvie's training videos (tips, etc.... I'm really grateful to you,Sylvie :) ), reading muay thai articles, analyzing  fights... thinking about my movements, what I want to work on...     I feel that I'm learning, even if I can't practise now.  

 

9vfqx4.jpg

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  • 2 months later...

Any advice on training with a broken toe? Unfortunately I caught an elbow while throwing a teep last night and my little toe snapped. I've had broken toes before, but that was before I trained muay thai. I'm not sure buddy tape will be effective once I start to sweat.

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Update: trained as usual. Switched to knees when kicks on that leg became too much (the inpact sort of reverberating the foot even though my foot wasn't hitting). Was able to donpretty much everything else without issue.

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Not sparring in Muay Thai yet so this is very helpful on what NOT to do - of course I know not to go too hard or try to win (I have some experience in boxing) but I did not know about this awful elbow reflex.  We are drilling teep defense and I just thought of it as... teep defense.  I wonder if its possible to start a detailed thread on errors beginner's make in sparring (I've read Damian Trainor's post and Sean's somewhat similar one)?  I had just begun sparring in Muay Thai and felt like I had 15 limbs not 8 (when I got injured) so while I don't want to get all psyched out about it when I return, it would be great to know how to avoid common beginner mistakes above and beyond being the jackass who tries to "win".  Be gentle though - it sucks being a beginner and I will probably be one a long time!

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Any advice on training with a broken toe? Unfortunately I caught an elbow while throwing a teep last night and my little toe snapped. I've had broken toes before, but that was before I trained muay thai. I'm not sure buddy tape will be effective once I start to sweat.

Not much you can do with the little one, tape slid right off mine. As you said though it doesn't affect things too much, just take it easy! Heal up soon!
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