Hockey players are at risk for several contact and overuse-related injuries, and goalies are no exception. Though the 50 pounds of protective gear make a goalie the most protected player on the ice, it doesn’t completely prevent injury.
The following are the most common injuries sustained by hockey goalies:
Meniscal Injuries – Meniscus damage in goalies occur during a collision with another player, taking a puck to the leg or twisting their knee in the wrong direction. Treatment will depend on the severity of the issue, and surgery may be necessary.
ACL Injuries – These types of injuries are usually the result of a sudden change of direction, a twisting or over-extension of the knee. Because these movements are common for goalies, ACL injuries also happen frequently. With an ACL injury, goalies are likely to feel pain, swelling and instability while bearing weight. Severe ACL injuries are repaired with surgery whereas partial tears are treated with rest, bracing and physical therapy.
Patellar Tendinitis – This is an overuse injury, and pain is felt between the knee and tibia. Goalies will feel pain from patellar tendinitis more during activity than the will while at rest. This condition is usually treated with rest, and further damage can be prevented with stretching and strengthening.
Knee Contusion – Goalies constantly encounter repeated and direct blows to the knee. Most contusions are minor and heal quickly with rest, ice, elevation, compression and anti-inflammatory medications. More serious knee contusions can lead to deep tissue damage and may require surgery.
While you are symptom free, be sure to include exercises on your hip internal rotation into your daily routine. By getting into the habit of getting better range from your hip, you will be less likely to torque through the knee.