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What are Hockey Injuries?

Hockey is the second most popular sport after soccer, yet several studies have estimated that almost 15% of hockey players are injured during a single season. Hockey injuries are considered acute or chronic, depending on whether occurring suddenly during the game or as a result of repetitive movements or reinjury.

Types of Hockey Injuries

The most dangerous hockey injuries occur from being hit by the stick, a player, the boards, goal,  or the puck. Other injuries are also common such as deep cuts or lacerations, fractures, strains, sprains, and bruises.

Acute upper limb injuries are relatively common. These injuries most frequently affect the hand, wrist, and forearm.

Characteristics and Clinical Presentation of Hockey Injuries

Several studies have demonstrated that most hockey injuries are produced by trauma. Player collisions and direct shocks from the boards, puck or swinging sticks can lead to the development of severe injuries in hockey players.

Sprains and strains are one of the most common types of injury. Strains can affect any joint; they usually are very painful and accompanied by swelling in the affected area. The best treatment for strains and sprains is to apply the R.I.C.E treatment by resting, icing, judiciously compressing, and elevating the affected area. However, if pain persists, the player should be examined by a professional orthopedic hand surgeon.

Bruises and contusions are also common in hockey players. Players can get a variety of contusions and bruises from falls, checks, being hit by sticks and pucks, and unexpected collisions on the ice.

Stress fractures are another type of injury that can affect hockey players, due to overuse, repetitive forceful movements, and accidents.  This injury is characterized by pain related to movement, accompanied by others inflammatory changes, usually focal swelling.

Causes of Hockey Injuries

Hockey is a high-speed, collision sport. This means that players are prone to being hit by pucks, sticks, and other players in addition to collision with the net and boards. This means that the most common cause of hockey injury is direct contact with another object.

In many scenarios, players may fall on the ice and land improperly as well. If a secondary player then lands on them, they may receive secondary injuries like a fracture, ligament tear or dislocation.

Other contributing factors include the insufficient rest, poor nutrition, inadequate strength training and conditioning, and the overuse of specific muscle groups.

Treatment Options

When it comes to hockey injuries, the course of treatment is based on the type of injury. If the injury is acute, the R.I.C.E method ought to be considered and the player examined quickly by a hand surgeon.

Treatment for upper body injuries varies depending on the severity and location of the injury. Less serious injuries may require rest and a wrap, while more severe injuries may need splinting and evaluation and management by an orthopedic hand surgeon.

For strains, the initial management is usually rest, gentle massage, and ice application. Injuries such as fractures or ligament ruptures may require reduction, casting or surgical treatment.

Preventing Hockey Injuries

One of the simplest ways to safeguard against possible hockey injuries is through adequate conditioning and training.

In addition to adequate conditioning and practice, the proper equipment can help prevent injuries. Players should also ensure they get proper hydration and nutrition before, during, and after playing. It is also important to stretch and warm up muscles before each game to help avoid injuries while a player is in action.

If You Believe You Have a Hockey Injury, Contact HandSport Surgery Institute.

Please contact us as soon as possible to schedule an appointment with our talented team. People who have been hurt while playing hockey should be evaluated to optimize healing and movement and to reduce rehab time and the possibility of reinjury.

If you have been injured, it’s important to be evaluated by a highly skilled professional. Call Drs. Mark and Jason Pruzansky at 212-249-8700 to schedule an appointment and obtain an accurate diagnosis.

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