Ice hockey is a popular sport in the United States and much of the world. With attention of the sports world focused on the Olympics, millions of people will watch the countries compete for ice hockey gold. Let’s discuss some of the common ice hockey injuries players from the professional level to youth hockey can suffer.
Traumatic brain injuries are unfortunately common in ice hockey, although they don’t get as much attention as they do in football. Collisions with opponents, being driven into the boards or falling on the ice can cause concussions. Rates of concussions in youth hockey have dropped with body checking rule changes at the youth level.
Most back injuries are muscular and do not need surgery. Hockey players suffer them with repeated hyperextension of their back when skating and checking opponents. Often working with a physical therapist or athletic trainer can help resolve the injury and prevent future back injuries.
Shoulder separations and collarbone injuries
Acromioclavicular (AC) joint injuries and clavicle fractures can occur when an athlete lands directly on the shoulder. Hockey players suffer these injuries when they are driven into the boards or ice by opponents.
MCL injuries of the knee
The medial collateral ligament (MCL) is the thick ligament on the inside of the knee. It’s a common injury in sports like football and soccer as well. A hockey player can suffer an MCL injury pushing off awkwardly or getting hit on the outside of the knee. Most of these injuries heal without surgery.
Injury to the muscles and tendons on the inside of the thigh (adductors) can occur with pushing off forcefully. Usually these injuries heal without surgery.
Lateral ankle sprains and syndesmosis injuries (high ankle sprains) are common ice hockey injuries from changing directions and crashing into the boards. These injuries usually heal without any long-term issues. Rest, ice, compression, an ankle brace and working with a physical therapist can help you get back on the ice.