In the state of hockey, kids and teens play the game of hockey all year round. Hockey players learn how to skate, stick handle, shoot on net. They also need to learn the importance of wearing protective equipment, especially a helmet. Despite the fun of the game, there is a potential risk for injury.

Dr. Anne Moore, sports medicine physician and team physician for the Minnesota Whitecaps, Minnesota Magicians and Benilde-St. Margaret's, sees many shoulder injuries among hockey players. She says this is due to the amount of contact, speed and force a player's body endures. Dr. Moore discusses three common injuries, treatment options, and injury prevention techniques.

Top three common shoulder injuries

The top three common shoulder injuries that hockey players experience are:

  • Shoulder separation – when the shoulder is out of the AC joint where the clavicle and scapula meet
  • Clavicle fracture
  • Shoulder dislocation – where the shoulder comes out of its socket due to the force

Treatment options for hockey injuries

Treating shoulder hockey injuries depend on the type of injury and how severe it is. Three treatment options include:

  • Immobilizing the shoulder with a sling, ice and pain medications, a course of rest
  • Immobilizing the shoulder with a brace – this is usually used with a shoulder dislocation
  • Physical therapy to address pain, strength and range of motion issues

Avoiding hockey injuries

Avoid hockey injuries by:

  • Playing fair and avoiding cheap shots
  • Avoiding getting your shoulder down too low when going into the boards
  • Having up-to-date-equipment that fits to help dissipate the force
  • Stabilizing shoulder muscles to stay strong

Despite the fun of the game, there is always a potential risk for injury when playing hockey. If you or someone you know experiences a hockey injury, walk in to any of our orthopedic urgent care locations.