Hockey Injury: Tips for Recovery



Initial Treatment (1-3 days)

The initial treatment for a groin hockey injury will depend on the severity of the injury. But in general, the athlete should be pulled from the activity and have an ice pack immediately applied to the area for 20 minutes, after which the groin should be securely wrapped with an ace bandage for support.

If a second- or third-degree strain is suspected, the athlete should be fitted for crutches, provided crutch-walking instructions, and referred for further medical evaluation.

The athlete should continue with a cycle of 20 minutes of ice followed by a compression wrap for the first 48-72 hours. The individual should also limit their activity and rest the leg as much as possible in a position of elevation (leg above the heart level). Sports-injury treatment using the P.R.I.C.E. principle—Protection, Rest, Icing, Compression, Elevation—will help reduce the amount of swelling in the thigh.

Recovery Exercises (3-7 days)

When the swelling and pain begins to reduce, the athlete can then move into the next stage of rehabilitation with the focus on regaining range of motion, tissue mobility, and strength.

In this phase, the athlete can begin treatment with heat. The heat can either be moist heat (Jacuzzi, whirlpool) or dry heat (hot pack). The heat should be applied for 10 – 15 minutes for the purpose of increasing circulation to the tissue and increasing extensibility of the muscle fibers. Immediately after the heat while the tissue is still warm and pliable, gentle massage can be given to the area. The purpose of the tissue massage is to keep the tissue mobile and decrease the possibility of adhesions and/or scar tissue from forming within and around the injured muscle tissue. The tissue should be massaged gently with care that pain is not induced.

Now that the tissue is warm and extensible, gentle stretching exercises can begin. Care must be taken to stretch the muscle tissue, but not to cause pain. Overaggressive stretching can damage the new tissue being laid down and elongate the healing and rehabilitation process. Gentle stretching exercises can be performed twice a day during this phase of recovery.

Once the muscle has been adequately stretched, strengthening exercises can be performed. The focus at this point is to provide mild resistance to the muscle, but to not perform any resistance exercise that causes pain or may reinjure the new tissue.


Knee: Ligament Injury

What is a Knee Ligament?

A ligament is a short band of tough fibrous connective tissue composed mainly of long, stringy collagen molecules. Ligaments connect bones to other bones in and around joints. They do not connect muscles to bones; that is the function of tendons. Ligaments limit the amount of mobility of a joint, or prevent certain movements altogether.

Causes of Knee Ligament Injuries

With this hockey injury, you can injure a ligament through a sudden change in direction, landing wrong from a jump, or the most common, a blunt-force hit to the knee. The incident usually needs to happen at speed. Muscle weakness or incoordination predispose you to a ligament sprain or tear.

Major Knee Ligaments
ACL: Anterior Cruciate Ligament
PCL: Posterior Cruciate Ligament
MCL: Medial Collateral Ligament
LCL: Lateral Collateral Ligament
Coronary Ligament

Symptoms & Severity of Knee Ligament Injuries

The severity and symptoms of a ligament sprain depends on the degree of stretching or tearing of the ligament. In a mild Grade I sprain, the ligaments may stretch, but they don’t actually tear. Although the joint may not hurt or swell very much, a mild sprain can increase the risk of a repeat injury.

With a moderate Grade II sprain, the ligament tears partially. Swelling and bruising are common, and use of the joint is usually painful and difficult.

With a severe Grade III sprain, a ligament tears completely, causing swelling and sometimes bleeding under the skin. As a result, the joint is unstable and unable to bear weight. Often there will be no pain following a Grade III tear as all of the pain fibers are torn at the time of injury.

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Healing Time

Treatment of a ligament hockey injury varies depending on its location and severity. Grade I sprains usually heal within a few weeks. Maximal ligament strength will occur after six weeks when the collagen fibers have matured. Resting from painful activity, icing the injury, and some anti-inflammatory medications are useful. Physiotherapy will help to hasten the healing process via electrical modalities, massage, strengthening and joint exercises to guide the direction that the ligament fibers heal. This helps to prevent a future tear.

When a Grade II sprain occurs, use of a weight-bearing brace or some supportive taping is common in early treatment. This helps to ease the pain and avoid stretching of the healing ligament. After a Grade II injury, you can usually return to activity once the joint is stable and you are no longer experiencing pain. This may take up to six weeks. Physiotherapy helps to hasten the healing process via electrical modalities, massage, strengthening and joint exercises to guide the direction that the ligament fibers heal. This helps to prevent a future tear and quickly return you to your pre-injury status.

When a Grade III injury occurs, you usually wear a hinged knee brace to protect the injury from weight-bearing stresses. The aim is to allow for ligament healing and gradually return to normal activities. These injuries are most successfully treated via physiotherapy and may not return to their full level of activity for 3 to 4 months. Definitely seek professional advice in these cases. Continued

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