Why Do Hockey Players Get So Many Groin Injuries?

Why Do Hockey Players Get So Many Groin Injuries?

March 4, 2014

While talking about groin injuries might make most people break out into a case of giggles, for hockey players they are serious business. Groin injuries are extremely common in the sport. While WebMD states that 10% of all injuries to professional hockey players are groin injuries, Club Physio claims that as many as 26% of all hockey injuries in the NHL involve the groin and pelvis. There are five “adductor” muscles that comprise the groin musculature. An injury to any one of these muscles can cause pain in the groin area. Understanding why these injuries are so common also offers some clues as to how they may be prevented.

To Deke or Not To Deke
Playing hockey professionally means being able to stop on a dime, change direction suddenly, move unpredictably, and effectively fake out your opponent. These sudden changes in movement and direction, while a great asset to a player’s skills and absolutely necessary technique, are also one of the main causes of groin pulls. Warming up effectively, stretching adequately, and taking care to employ proper form can help reduce the occurrence of some of these injuries.

Hockey is a gleefully aggressive game. Players regularly settle disputes on ice with their fists, and some of the hits can be spectacular. Being hit hard by another player, and at a bad angle, can easily cause a groin strain. While the NHL and other organizations are making serious efforts to enhance player safety, the results of the aggressive nature of the game can still be injuries.

The types of movement that hockey players use, especially the long strides of skating, use the groin muscles frequently, and place these muscles at great risk for strain. When the muscles are flexed or extended, they are more susceptible to injury. This is especially true if a player is knocked off their feet or has a skate taken out from under them, which can cause the groin muscles to stretch and tear.

Returning Too Soon
Groin injuries can be lingering and recurring problems for hockey players, often because many of them attempt to return to action too quickly after an injury and end up hurting themselves anew. While the temptation may be to get back on the ice as soon as possible, giving a groin injury adequate time to rest and heal is absolutely essential for making a full recovery. If this rest time is allowed, the prognosis is extremely good, so as frustrating as it can be, players need to take the time to let their bodies recover after a groin strain.

Balance Is The Key To Prevention
Obviously, warming up prior to taking the ice is important. Off the ice, strengthening and stretching not only the groin muscles, but committing equal attention to the abductors (outside leg muscles), quadriceps and hamstrings. Proper strength and flexibility to all balancing muscles of the leg is paramount to an injury free hockey player.

If you have recently suffered from a hockey injury, check out our Hockey Program on SimpleTherapy to help manage your pain through home-based exercise videos.

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