Hockey Tips to Keep You in the Game - Part 2 The Upper Extremity

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Shoulder Separations

David Burnett, BScH, MScPT, Registered Physiotherapist

An AC joint injury (also called a “shoulder separation”) usually occurs after a fall onto the shoulder or a forceful impact with another object or person, both of which can occur often in a hockey game. The AC joint is where the collar bone and shoulder blade meet and is held together by four ligaments – you can feel for this by sliding your fingers out along your collar bone until you hit a bony bump near the edge of your shoulder. Symptoms of an AC joint injury can range from mild tenderness felt over the joint after a Grade 1 ligament sprain to intense pain and swelling after a Grade  2 or 3 sprain. In either a Grade 2 or 3 separation, a popping sensation may occur and a noticeable bump may be present due to shifting of the loose joint. If you are a hockey player with any of these symptoms, be sure to get properly assessed and treated by a sports medicine professional to ensure best recovery. 

Male holding shoulder

Pain in the Back!

Dr. Stefano Bozzo, HB.Sc(KIN), DC

Low back injury is common among hockey players due to the forward flexed posture (bending forward) of skating. Frequent stress into extension (bending backward) can also result in injury. Most commonly, a pulled muscle or joint sprain is the source of the pain. Keeping the core muscles strong and stretching the quadriceps and hamstrings (muscles at the front and back of the thigh) can help avoid these injuries. Manual therapy such as chiropractic and physiotherapy are helpful in assessing and treating low back pain.  

Hip Pointer

Dr. Stefano Bozzo, HB.Sc(KIN), DC

A direct blow to the side or front of the hip from a hit or fall can bruise the bone or surrounding soft tissues (muscles, tendons, etc) and this is known as a “hip pointer.” The bones in this area have little muscle and fat over them for padding and are therefore more susceptible to this type of injury. Initially, most hip pointers can be managed with rest, ice, and compression. However, if pain and tenderness continue for more than a couple of days, especially when touching the area or moving your leg, it is time to have it formally assessed by a health professional. 

Hockey player gliding to wall

Hockey players have strong hips.  True or False?

Caitlyn Goodfellow, MScPT, BSc HKin, NDT, Trained Registered Physiotherapist

The answer can be both! The real question is whether you have balanced strength. Because of the skating motion, lots of hockey players are strong in one direction.  However, the hip joint requires a balance among stabilizing muscles to ensure the ball stays centered in the socket. If an imbalance exists, the ball can migrate in the socket causing pinching, soreness and restricted range of motion. This is why cross training can be so important.  Cross training can work different muscles which not only improves your overall strength but keeps you in the game and helps you avoid injury. Speak to a professional about assessing your strength and setting cross training goals. 

David Burnett
Registered Physiotherapist
Caitlyn Goodfellow
Registered Physiotherapist
Dr. Stefano Bozzo
Doctor of Chiropractic
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