Getting the wind knocked out of you

Getting the wind knocked out of you, also referred to as being or getting "winded"[1] is a commonly used idiom that refers to a kind of diaphragm spasm that occurs when sudden force is applied to the abdomen which puts pressure on the solar plexus. This often happens in contact sports, from a forceful blow to the abdomen, or by falling on the back. It results in a temporary paralysis of the diaphragm that makes it difficult to breathe.[2] The sensation of being unable to breathe can lead to anxiety and there may be residual pain from the original blow, but the condition typically clears spontaneously in a minute or two. Victims of a winding episode often groan in a strained manner until normal breathing resumes.



  1. ^ MacAuley, Domhnall (1 November 2012). Oxford Handbook of Sport and Exercise Medicine. OUP Oxford. ISBN 9780199660155 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ "What happens when you get winded?". BBC News. 28 September 2005.