Hockey Injuries

From youth hockey to adult recreation leagues, whether on the rink or out on winter’s frozen ponds, people of many ages have discovered the thrill of hockey. This popular sport is certainly not without its dangers. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons reported that over 67,000 people each year sustain hockey-related injuries that cause them to be seen by a doctor.

Preventing Hockey Injuries

Here are some tips for how to avoid injury while playing hockey:

Safety equipment matters

Make sure your safety gear fits you properly; equipment that is too small or large can impact the efficiency of the gear to reduce injury. Wear all of the safety equipment every time you play or practice, it’s the number one way to protect you from injury.

Helmets don’t make players invincible

The high collision nature of hockey, and the no-give boards surrounding many games, makes for a dangerous combination for injury, even with a helmet. The helmet does not allow the player to become a human battering ram; players should keep their head up, especially when near the boards and when checking.

Warm up

Although this can be the unglamorous side of sport, warming up before playing or practicing allows for greater flexibility during play and reduces the chance of injury.


Common Hockey Injuries and Conditions

Elbow Bursitis

Elbow bursitis occurs when the bursa, a sac allowing smooth movement of the skin over the bone, becomes inflamed and fills with fluid. This can be caused from a trauma such as direct hit to the elbow, repetitive strain placed on elbow from pressure, or also caused by infection or certain medical conditions such as arthritis.

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Knee Ligament Injury (ACL, PCL, MCL)

The majority of stabilization in the knee comes from the ligaments. The cruciate ligaments are made up of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), which cross to form an “x” shape inside the knee. The collateral ligaments provide additional stability on the inside of the knee through the medial collateral ligament (MCL) and outside of the knee through the lateral collateral ligament (LCL). The LCL is not addressed in the following information, as it is seldom injured. Ligament injuries can come from sports-related movements such as pivoting, jumping, stopping quickly, or a direct impact to the knee. These injuries can happen to people of many ages and activity levels, and is by no means limited to athletes.

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Shoulder Separation

A shoulder separation affects the acromioclavicular joint (AC joint), where the collarbone connects with the wingbone above the shoulder. When the normal alignment of this joint is changed, from trauma or most commonly from falling directly on the shoulder, the ligaments become damaged and can no longer fully stabilize the AC joint.

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