Don’t let beer league hockey get the best of you!
Playing ice hockey can put your body at risk for a variety of different injuries, especially if you are no longer in the prime of your youth. Any number of things, such as your effort in the game, a lack of a proper warm up, or getting checked by the opposition, can result in back, hip or knee injuries – to name a few – as well as sprains or strains.
Around this time of year, after the NHL season has started up again, our physios and massage therapists tend to see a lot of men and women coming into the clinic with injuries sustained from “beer league” ice hockey. On average, they are 40 years or older, and are looking for ways to prevent further injury. With this in mind, we wanted to share a few tips on how to prevent ice hockey injuries, as well as advice on how to manage acute injuries that players may currently be experiencing.
How to Prevent Ice Hockey Injuries
The two main complaints that our physiotherapists hear are adductor strains in the hip area and lower back stiffness.
For most people, by preparing for season and supplementing their ice hockey training with a good warm up routine (before they hit the ice), a pre-season assessment and complementary exercises throughout the season are enough to prevent injury.
- Warm Up: For the most part, many ice hockey players simply need assistance with their warm up. Many players hit the ice without properly preparing their bodies.
- Help avoid back and hip injuries by stretching your hip flexor muscles with stretches such as lunges.
- Engage your muscles in dynamic stretching, such as high knees, rather than static stretches, where you are standing still.
- Preseason Management: If you have any preexisting injuries that you are afraid will come back to haunt you during season, visit a physio prior to the season and ask for specific exercises that you can do to strengthen your muscles and prevent reinjuring yourself. Our Athlete & Sport Specific Assessments are a perfect way to find your weaknesses and turn them into strengths.
- Midseason Management: Supplement your ice hockey training with conditioning exercising that will assist with hip mobility and strengthening pelvis stability.
How to Manage Ice Hockey Injuries
If you are unlucky enough to sustain an ice hockey injury this season, there are a few things that you can do to tend to your injuries to promote a faster recovery.
- Sprains and Strains: For sprains or strains, you will want to immediately ice the injury, compress the injury with a folded cloth or pad to reduce pain, and elevate it. Seek professional help as soon as possible to prevent further injury if you are unable to move or put pressure on the injured joint due to severe pain.
- Muscle Soreness: If you find that you are experiencing muscle soreness 12 to 48 hours after you play ice hockey, try getting more rest. The soreness may be the result of delayed onset muscle soreness, in which case rest will help with recovery. If you continue to experience soreness, come in for an appointment.
We wish you a successful season!
Credit to Little Goblins Press for this blog post.