Common Hockey Injuries

by HSS on the Move
Hockey players

The most common shoulder injuries in hockey include acromioclavicular (A-C joint) separation in the shoulder, clavicle (collarbone) fractures, and shoulder dislocations. Dr. John MacGillivray, Orthopedic Surgeon, discusses these three common hockey injuries and the treatments that can get you back on the ice.

A-C joint separations are commonly caused by getting checked into the boards, resulting in an injury to the ligaments that stabilize the A-C joint. Using Hockey shoulder pads can be a preventative measure, but not full proof. If checked with enough force, an A-C joint separation still may occur despite wearing pads. The majority of these injuries are treated non-operatively, including physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications or sometimes corticosteroid injections. However, some of the more displaced, or misaligned joints may require surgery. One can return to play once pain has subsided.

Clavicle (collarbone) fractures are often caused by being checked into the boards. Treatment is based on several factors including the amount of displacement, shortening (when the two broken bone-ends overlap), and the number of fractures in the bone. Surgery is recommended if there is a fair amount of displacement, shortening of more than one inch, and if the fractures break the bone into more than 2 pieces. Treatment consists of wearing a sling for 4-6 weeks and return to play at 3-4 months.

Shoulder dislocation occurs when the shoulder “ball” pops out of the socket.  When this occurs, the player usually needs to be taken to the emergency room to reposition the shoulder. A first time dislocation is usually treated with physical therapy to strengthen the shoulder.  If more shoulder dislocations occur, then it may be warranted to perform arthroscopic shoulder stabilization surgery—a minimally invasive procedure to repair shoulder injuries using small cameras and instruments that are fit through tiny incisions in order to view and repair the shoulder’s structure.

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The information provided in this blog by HSS and our affiliated physicians is for general informational and educational purposes, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual problem you may have. This information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a qualified health care provider who is familiar with the unique facts about your condition and medical history. You should always consult your health care provider prior to starting any new treatment, or terminating or changing any ongoing treatment. Every post on this blog is the opinion of the author and may not reflect the official position of HSS. Please contact us if we can be helpful in answering any questions or to arrange for a visit or consult.

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