Hockey goalie trying to stop puck

Common Hockey Injuries and Prevention Tips

Many of the patients who come to the offices of Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine are sports enthusiasts who have been injured in their preferred activities. As you may have imagined, hockey is not only one of these popular sports but is one with a notable number of injuries. Understanding the demands and risks associated with hockey is as crucial for our medical team as it is for the hockey team members who come to us for help.

Our physiatrists, who specialize in pain relief and nonsurgical restoration of function, use a holistic approach to healing that combines traditional and complementary treatments. Because our focus is on helping patients avoid injuries as well as recover from them, we make it a point to educate patients on prevention as part of our treatment plans. 

Common Hockey Injuries and How They Occur

Hockey, known for its fast pace and physical intensity, predisposes players to a range of injuries. These injuries may result from direct impacts, falls, or repetitive stress.

  • Concussions, caused by blows to the head due to collisions with other players, boards, sticks, or ice.
  • Shoulder injuries, including dislocations and separations
  • Knee injuries: ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and MCL (medial collateral ligament) due to twisting of the knee during play
  • Wrist and hand injuries can occur due to falls, direct impacts, or from the stress of holding and maneuvering the stick
  • Hip injuries: including strains and bursitis, often result from checks or sudden stops and starts
  • Lacerations and contusions due to the sharp blades, sticks, and pucks

How We Diagnose Hockey Injuries at LI Spine Rehabilitation Medicine

Diagnosis begins with a comprehensive assessment by one of our physiatrists, who will review your medical history, perform a physical examination, and may order imaging tests such as X-rays, MRI, CT or ultrasound scans. 

How We Treat Hockey Injuries at LI Spine Rehabilitation Medicine

Our treatment, depending on the nature and severity of the damage may include:

  • Customized physical therapy to restore function, increase strength and flexibility, and reduce pain
  • Medication to reduce inflammation and reduce pain
  • Acupuncture to reduce pain and inflammation, improve circulation, and accelerate healing 
  • Platelet-rich plasma therapy to reduce recovery time
  • Pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy to reduce pain, accelerate bone healing, and improve immune function
  • Education to provide patients with strategies for preventing injuries and for home care if they do get hurt 

Tips on How To Prevent Hockey Injuries

Prevention of injury is vital to success in any sport, especially an aggressive one like hockey. Here are practical tips to minimize the risk of injury:

  1. Use Correct Equipment
    Always wear all recommended protective gear, including helmets, mouthguards, shoulder pads, elbow pads, gloves, and appropriate padding for the knees and shins. Ensure that the equipment fits properly and is in good condition.
  2. Do Strength and Conditioning Exercises Regularly 
    Off-ice strength and conditioning exercises will build the muscles used in hockey and improve your overall balance and stability, thereby reducing the risk of injury.
  3. Stretch for Increased Flexibility
    By incorporating stretching into your routine, you can enhance the flexibility and range of motion critical for preventing muscle strains.
  4. Use Proper Techniques
    Learning and practicing correct techniques for skating, stopping, and checking can prevent many common hockey injuries.
  5. Make Sure To Hydrate and Nourish Your Body Sufficiently
    Proper hydration and nutrition support muscle function and recovery; they also help to prevent cramps and more serious injuries.
  6. Get Enough Rest
    Ensure you get enough rest between games and practices to allow your body to recover, reducing the risk of overuse injuries.

Tip To Prevent Hockey Injuries: Contact Our Experienced Sports Doctors Today

At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, we know that no hockey player wants the pain, immobility, and absence from the game that follows suffering an injury. If you have been injured during a game or practice, get in touch with our talented professionals today. We will work hard to get you back in the game and to toughen you so you are protected from future injuries.