Hockey Tips to Keep You in the Game - Part 3 The Lower Extremity

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Hockey skates can be tough on the feet!

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

The flat surface and small base of support on the blade means the foot may have to work overtime to get good contact which can lead to a change in foot shape and position. This can also throw off the joints and muscles above.  A simple over the counter orthotic can provide a better position for the foot and allow the entire leg to work more efficiently and powerfully. Strengthening exercises that incorporate the foot and hip can also go a long way to making sure you stay strong and supported. Speak with a professional about how to up your game with some lower extremity specific training.

Feet on a deck

High Ankle Sprain

Blake Scott, MPhty, BA (Kin, Hons), Registered Physiotherapist

Typical ankle sprains are relatively uncommon in hockey due to the ankle being fixated in the skate. However, forceful outward rotation of the foot (skate catching on ice or the boards for example) can result in a high ankle sprain. A high ankle sprain will commonly present with pain and swelling in the front and inside of the ankle. High ankle sprains can be treated well with a conservative management approach of relative rest, and gradual progression of loading, range of motion and balance exercises. Severe high ankle sprains may require X-ray to rule out a fracture. It is best to seek the advice of a health care professional if you think you may have a high ankle sprain.


MCL Injury

Blake Scott, MPhty, BA (Kin, Hons), Registered Physiotherapist

The MCL (Medial Collateral Ligament) is a ligament on the inside portion of the knee that prevents the knee from collapsing inwards. An MCL sprain can occur from a contact or non-contact mechanism. The most likely contact mechanism of injury is when an opponent falls on the outside of the knee causing the knee collapse inwards. A non-contact MCL injury can occur when the skate is planted on the ice and the knee twists away from planted skate. MCL sprains present as pain and tenderness on the inner part of the knee with or without swelling. A player with a high-grade sprain (Gr. 3) may also complain of instability in the knee. A MCL sprain may require the use of a brace to protect joint movement as well as a comprehensive rehab program for swelling/pain management, and gradual progression of loading, range of motion and balance exercises. 

Knee with brace
Woman doing squats with bar

Strengthen those glutes! 

Brian Findlay, BA(Hons.Kin), MScPT, ​Registered Physiotherapist

Hockey players need strong/powerful muscles in their core and lower extremity to become fast and smooth skaters. Our glutes are important for providing stability around the pelvis and create the hip extension needed for each stride on the ice. Working on sport specific exercises and resistance training targeting your glutes can help to strengthen this important muscle group. 

Brian Findlay
Registered Physiotherapist
Caitlyn Goodfellow
Registered Physiotherapist
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