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Hockey Injuries and Training Exercises to Prevent Them

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To schedule an appointment with a physician or other Sports Medicine expert, call
1-855-93-SPORT (77678).

UPMC Rooney
Sports Complex
3200 S. Water St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15203

UPMC Lemieux
Sports Complex

8000 Cranberry Springs Drive
Cranberry Township, PA 16066

Ice hockey is a popular winter sport in the United States, with thousands of amateur and pro athletes playing every year.

Hockey is a fast-paced sport. It combines players of different sizes and speed together on an ice rink with furious non-stop action.

Hockey Injury Causes

Due to the hard-hitting, physical nature of the game, hockey players put themselves at risk for injury at any moment while playing.

Factors that can cause hockey injuries include:

  • High-impact contact from other players
  • Rigid boards
  • Goal posts
  • Skate blades
  • Hockey sticks
  • Pucks moving at high speeds

Common Ice Hockey Injuries

The most common hockey injuries include:

  • AC joint (shoulder)
  • ACL strains or tears​
  • Broken collarbone
  • Concussions
  • MCL strains or tears​
  • Muscle strains
  • Shoulder dislocation

  • For athletes who have a hockey or other sports-related injury, experts at the UPMC Sports Medicine can help.

    Our orthopaedic surgeons and physical therapists have the knowledge and experience in treating hockey injuries and will help to speed recovery and restore function.

    Preventing Hockey Injuries

    Ice hockey training tips and techniques

    Like many contact sports, the right strength and conditioning training program can help prevent common hockey injuries, especially in youth players.

    To help prevent or lower the risk of a hockey injury, follow these steps:

    • Warm up to prepare your body for activity.
    • Stretch your lower back, hips, and groin.
    • Wear proper protective gear designed for each position.
    • Know the rules of the game and abide by them.
    • Train in the off-season to make your body stronger, more coordinated, and flexible.
    • Maintain proper nutrition and hydration to help you perform better during training and to heal faster after injury.

    Hockey training and conditioning exercises

    Following a hockey-specific exercise program — on and off the ice — can help you properly condition your body and prevent injuries.

    You should talk to your doctor before starting any kind of training or conditioning program.

    Off-ice balance drills

    • Stand on one foot with your eyes closed for as long as you can.
    • Single-leg squats. Progress to single-leg squat, hopping from leg to leg.

    Medicine ball twists/toss

    • Turn sideways to a partner.
    • Rotate your trunk and throw the ball.

    Twisting and throwing build the torso strength and dynamic stability you need when shooting the puck.

    Aerobic exercise

    Do at least 30 minutes of exercise three to four times a week, such as:

    • Running
    • Bike riding
    • Using a stair climber or elliptical

    Incorporating aerobic exercise into your training will help build endurance as you move across the ice during games or practices.

    Box jumps

    • Build explosive leg strength and balance by jumping laterally over cones or boxes.

    Make an Appointment at UPMC Sports Medicine for Hockey Injuries

    To make an appointment for a hockey injury, contact UPMC Sports Medicine at 1-855-93-SPORT (77678).

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