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Common Ice Hockey Injuries

Prevention and treatment of common aches, pains and injuries from ice hockey

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Updated September 04, 2013

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Common Ice Hockey Injuries

Common Ice Hockey Injuries

photo (c) Jim McIsaac / Getty Images
Ice hockey injuries are common and range from minor annoying aches and pains to serious traumas. For both recreational and professional ice hockey players, it's essential to wear appropriate ice hockey safety equipment including helmets, pads and protective gear, to reduce both the risk and severity of injury. Even so, a hockey player may still sustain an injury on the ice.

Ice hockey injuries are generally defined as either chronic (overuse) injuries or acute (traumatic) injuries.

Overuse injuries are cumulative aches and pains that occur over time and can often be prevented with appropriate training and rest. Traumatic injuries are often accidents that occur suddenly and can't be avoided, but require immediate first aid.

Common Ice Hockey Pain and Injuries

Statistics indicate that the large majority of ice hockey injuries are caused by direct trauma during games. Hard body checks, player collisions, forced collisions with the walls and ice, and direct blows from the puck, flying sticks and skates all add up to injuries and underscore the inherent danger of ice hockey.
  • Sprains and Strains
    Sprains and strains are the most common type of hockey injury. The best immediate treatment for sprains and strains is the R.I.C.E. method (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation).

  • Cuts and Lacerations
    Cuts and scrapes to the head and face also top the list of hockey injuries, but using helmets with a full face shield has reduced the severity and frequency of these injuries.

  • Bruises and Contusions
    Flying skaters, sticks and pucks, along with the many collisions on the ice frequently leave hockey players tending a variety of bruises and contusions.

  • Muscle Cramps
    A cramp is a sudden, intense pain caused by a muscle involuntary and forcibly contracting muscle that does not relax.

  • Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness
    This is the sort of muscle soreness experienced from 12 to 48 hours following a tough workout or game. Getting enough rest often is all you need to recover.

  • Overtraining Syndrome
    Overtraining syndrome frequently occurs in athletes who train beyond the body's ability to recover.

Head, Neck and Shoulder Injuries from Hockey

Knee and Leg Injuries from Hockey

Foot and Ankle Injuries from Hockey

Hand Injuries from Hockey

Back Injuries from Hockey

Tips for Preventing Ice Hockey Injuries

Experts agree that wearing appropriate safely equipment -- such as helmets, mouth guards, and protective pads -- can reduce the risk of serious ice hockey injuries.

Sources:

Daly PJ, Sim F, Soimonet W. Ice Hockey Injuries: A Review. Sports Medicine 10(3):122-131, 1990.

Ice Hockey Fact Sheet, The British Columbia Injury Research and Prevention Unit (BCIRPU). [http://www.injuryresearch.bc.ca/Publications/Fact%20Sheets/IceHockey%20fact%20sheet.pdf]. BCIRPU, CHEO, 2000.

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