Most Common Hockey Injuries

orthopedic_sportsHockey has a loyal following across the world for good reason. Slapshots, checking, and power plays make hockey a thrilling game that’s been around for centuries. With such a high potential for collision with other players, the ice or rink, and a high-velocity puck, no wonder hockey players are frequent visitors to the sports medicine office. Following are some common troubles related to hockey.


Though players wear helmets, collisions can dislodge them, creating a dangerous situation. If the un-helmeted player falls and hits their head, concussion is a likely result. The impact to the skull can damage the brain immediately or after a delay as swelling occurs. A severe concussion can be fatal so it’s nothing to take lightly.

Dislocated Shoulder

A dislocated shoulder occurs when the upper arm bone is wrenched out of the shoulder socket. This can be incredibly painful and may also tear or stretch the ligaments and tendons that support the joint. Once the shoulder is adjusted back into place, it must be allowed to heal fully or the tissues will never shrink, resulting in repeated dislocations.

Knee Injury

Changing direction too quickly, hyperextending the knee, or twisting the knee joint forcefully tears soft tissue supporting or the cartilage cushioning your knee joint. While sometimes it’s adequate to rest the joint, allow the swelling to subside and tissue to heal, many times your sports medicine specialist will need to perform surgery.

Gamekeeper’s Thumb

At the base of the thumb is the Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL), which keeps your thumb close to your hand. Repeatedly stretching this UCL could cause swelling and pain. This problem is common in hockey due to stick handling. This UCL can also become sprained or torn by sudden trauma bending the thumb too far. Depending on the severity, your sports medicine professional will prescribe rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medication or possibly need to perform surgery.

Hockey athletes are often tough as nails, but definitely have significant risk of injury. If you play, protect yourself with equipment and conditioning, and talk to your sports medicine pro for ways to prevent trouble.

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