Field hockey is a tough sport requiring skill, fitness and the ability to make quick changes in direction. As a result, field hockey has a high percentage of soft tissue injuries. Some common field hockey injuries are:
ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) rupture
The ACL is an important ligament as it helps to stabilise the knee. ACL ruptures are common field hockey injuries, especially in women and can occur when the knee is twisted during a change in direction, when landing awkwardly from a jump or when stopping suddenly from running. This type of injury causes knee pain, swelling, instability and difficulty walking. A loud pop may be heard at the time of injury. If this happens you should stop play immediately, apply the RICE formula (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) and seek medical attention as soon as possible. Rehabilitation with physiotherapy is always needed to help return to the hockey field.
The menisci are made up of two rings of cartilage – the medial meniscus and the lateral meniscus. Their function is to absorb shock in the knee. Constant twisting of the knee can cause damage to the menisci and lead to pain, swelling, difficulty bearing weight and an inability to bend the knee. When this happens, you should stop play and apply the RICE formula (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). Physiotherapy will be needed to help you return to hockey, but in severe cases surgery may be necessary, followed by physiotherapy rehabilitation.
This is a very common field hockey injury which occurs when the ankle turns over, causing the sole to turn inward. Damage is usually to the ligaments on the outside of the ankle. Symptoms are ankle pain, swelling, stiffness, bruising and an inability to bear weight. Using the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) formula followed by physiotherapy, is the best form of treatment.
Sudden, sharp pain at the back of the leg while sprinting or quickly changing direction can signal a hamstring strain. Other symptoms are a pain while stretching the muscle, swelling and bruising. There are different grades of hamstring strains, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. In severe cases, walking is greatly limited and crutches may be needed. Treatment consists of the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) formula followed by physiotherapy.
A tear or rupture to the muscles on the inner side of the thigh constitutes a groin strain. This type of field hockey injury results in groin pain ranging from mild to severe, grade 1 being mild, 2 moderate and 3 severe. Tightness may be felt in the groin area as well as pain when squeezing the legs together. In a grade 3 strain, a lump or a gap in the muscle may be felt. RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) along with physiotherapy treatment are needed to help you return to the field.
These are just some of the ways that players can be injured while playing field hockey. In many cases, injury can be prevented by warming up properly before play and cooling down afterwards. Also, wearing protective gear will go a long way in avoiding some of the contusions and fractures that occur during this sport. If you have been injured while playing field hockey, come in and see us. We can not only help you return to field hockey but train you to avoid future injury.