Hockey injuries treatment
Arguably the most popular winter sport in all countries that experience snowy winters is hockey. It has been around for several millennia already, and over the years has formed into what it is today. This is a sport many enjoy playing recreationally, professionally, or even simply watching it on the television, while supporting their favorite NHL team.
Being one of the most physically demanding sports, hockey has gained its reputation as being one of the toughest sports out there. It has also gained a reputation of being one of the more violent sports, with its fights attracting an audience just as well. However, it is an exciting game to partake in, just as much as it is to watch it, with it being one of the fastest sports where anything can change within moments. The training requires much stamina and grit, and endless practice hours both on and off the ice.
As previously mentioned, this is a high intensity sport, and like in all high intensity contact sports, injuries are prevalent. Just as much training is done off the ice rinks, which requires the highest levels of fitness from professional hockey players. This causes a number of repetitive stress injuries acquired with wear and tear of the soft tissue. Additionally, strains, sprains, tears, concussions, contusions, open wounds, lacerations and fractures are also popular injuries among hockey players, both professional and recreational. Since there are far too many injuries that hockey players can sustain, below are covered only the most frequently occurring ones.
Repetitive Stress Injuries
Repetitive stress injuries are incredibly frequent in high intensity and contact sports. The most common condition is the inflammation of the tendons, known as tendinitis, caused by micro tears in the tissue. In hockey players, this most commonly occurs in the rotator cuff region (causing shoulder pain), and in the Achilles tendon. In the shoulder region, this trauma causes varying degrees of pain (from a tingling feeling to sharp pain) when doing overhead motions and rotating the arm. In case of the Achilles tendinitis, the hockey player would experience varying degrees of pain while skating, and using their calf and foot muscles.
Torn ulnar collateral ligament, located at the base of the thumb, which enables it to rotate, causes a condition which is also known as the Gamekeeper’s Thumb. This condition, although originated from the gamekeepers who snapped rabbits’ necks, is one of the common complaints among hockey players due to the gripping motion used to hold the hockey stick. The injury is generally acute, and causes instability in the thumb. Symptoms include pain in between the thumb and the index finger, particularly when moving or rotating the thumb.
Back pain is another complaint among hockey players, due to the hunched over back position while skating. General diagnosis is the degenerative disc disease; however, it may be a number of conditions, such as a herniated or a bulging disc. Therefore, when experiencing chronic back pain, it is essential to see a specialist to start a rehabilitative program, as well as relieve the pain, before this condition gets any worse and sidelines you from the sport for a longer period of time than necessary.
A degenerative disc disease is common among many athletes and many adults as well. Hockey itself may not even be the initial cause for it, as it is genetically predisposed among some people, or can form due to poor posture. The disc itself is made of a nucleus and annulus and is positioned between vertebrates to absorb shock. The degenerative process starts when the moisture in the discs begins to dry out, thus resulting in less shock absorption and causing tiny tears in the annulus part of the disc. Although having no cure, this condition can be easily managed with manual and physical therapy, restoration of the joint and spine alignment and electrotherapy.
This injury is less common among the athletes, and generally tends to occur during the more violent aspect of the game, i.e. a fight. This is a traumatic brain injury caused by the brain bouncing against the walls of the skull immediately after contact with a solid surface (e.g. from a fall). During this process, free radicals form inside the brain, which basically cause the inflammation, as well as tissue deterioration, which could potentially lead to brain damage. The symptoms include headache, dizziness, disorientation, queesiness, and in some cases, unconsciousness. Additionally, a person who has suffered a concussion, may not remember the impact that caused it.
With hockey being such a physically demanding sport, it is important to take injury preventive precautions before any practice.
- Warm up before and cool down after every single practice; stretching is essential in this sport.
- Know your body, understand your own limitations, and differentiate between the different types of pain you may feel during training
- Let the muscles have enough time to recuperate after strenuous practices
- Use proper technique while training on ice
- Be aware of your surroundings
- Always wear protective gear
- For recreational hockey players, build up the intensity of your hockey practices with time
TREATMENT AT OUR CLINIC
The NYCSPT clinic offers a number of diagnostic and rehabilitative treatments. If you have sustained an injury while playing hockey, you would only need to go to one place to get your injury diagnosed, evaluated and a personalized rehabilitative treatment program assigned for you. The expert team at NYCSPT has cross-discipline knowledge in orthopedics and sports medicine, and thorough understanding of neuromusculoskeletal conditions and their pathology. In addition to that, we offer a number of non-invasive treatments which, in combination with traditional methods of treatment, help rehabilitate injuries for hockey players sustained during practices and games. These innovative treatments are done with the help of state of the art technologies, such as computer assisted rehabilitation environment (CAREN), which also help enhance performance of the athletes as well. For the more serious injuries, there is an extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT), which can substitute a surgical intervention. What it does is provide shockwaves to the injured soft tissue, increasing the blood supply to the area and triggering a healing process.