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Physiotherapy for Hockey Players

Hockey is a widely popular game with inherent characteristics that lend themselves to certain injuries. The available evidence suggests the majority of serious injuries result from being struck by the stick or the ball. Extrinsic injuries (contact with person, object or ground) made up 59.7% of all hockey injuries. Overall, goalkeepers had the highest risk of injury, most commonly concussions, wrist fractures, ankle sprains, thigh muscle strains and knee ligament tears.

Common injuries in hockey

Ankle injuries

Ligament sprain of the ankle is the most common intrinsic hockey injury. Inversion (where the foot rolls in) injuries are easily caused by stepping on the ball, tripping on the stick or by changing directions. Some sports medicine professionals believe that synthetic playing surfaces influence certain injuries, while also increasing the prevalence of shin soreness, knee pain and lower back problems

Head/ Face/ Torso injuries

These injuries are common due to the high chance of coming in contact with the ball, stick or ground. Rules have been altered to decrease the incidence of these injuries but they will always be part of the game. Protective equipment plays the most effective role in prevention, particularly for goalkeepers.

Low Back Pain

59% of hockey athletes have experienced back pain at some time in their playing career, most commonly in the lower back. Field hockey is a game with an inbuilt asymmetry. All sticks are right handed and are 34, 36 or 38 inches long. The rules require that only one side of the stick be used during play. Therefore, most ball handling and defensive skills demand a combination of trunk flexion and rotation. This semi crouched position has been found to cause greater spinal loading than normal locomotion and is thought to be ergonomically unsound.

As hockey is easily played into the advancing years, a program of strength, endurance and flexibility, as implemented by your physiotherapist, is the best way to decrease the chance of injury and continue playing symptom free.


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