7014299_sTaking a bruising, battering, and beating – hockey is a rough sport. Players are constantly running into walls, and one another on purpose and on accident. Hockey players get used to injuries. Over the course of a season, it’s not uncommon to see broken bones, sprains or tears, not to mention lots and lots of bruises and maybe a few missing teeth. One injury that’s a sideline certainty: a sports hernia, also known as an inguinal disruption. Not only can a sports hernia injury be painful, but it can also turn a star player into a bench-warmer. Knowing how to prevent sports hernia injuries from happening and what to do if one does occur can keep you on the ice.

An inguinal disruption is an injury that happens when the soft tissue in the groin area is torn. Common symptoms include a visible weakness, pain when moving, and deep aches in or around the lower abdomen. Often, this causes chronic pain with activity and severely restricts an athlete’s ability to perform. Over time, a sports hernia can heal slightly, but without treatment there is a significant risk of permanent muscular damage.

The conditions during a hockey match have a lot in common with the usual circumstances under which athletes suffer sports hernias. Hockey players spend much of their time skating at high speeds, with frequent changes in speed and direction. Twists and turns on the ice require a strong core. Even the tiniest imbalance can increase the already enormous amount of strain on muscles. Hockey players’ frequent collisions and repetitive motions on an already perilous surface put them at high risk of sustaining a sports hernia.

With all of the potential for injury, it’s critical that hockey players take preventative steps toward minimizing their sports hernia risk. Maintaining a strong core is the most important, and will not only help prevent injury, but also lead to greater balance on the ice. Flexibility is also important, as it will reduce the amount of strain exerted when turning or changing directions quickly. Including exercises focused on core strength and balance will help prevent sports hernia injuries from occurring.

Hockey might be notoriously fast-paced, but being sidelined with a sports hernia could put you on the bench for months. Knowing the symptoms and being prepared to recognize a possible injury can aid future recovery immensely. Prevention is an even better approach, and will not only minimize your chances of injury but also improve strength overall. For athletes playing hockey, taking a bruising can be a normal occurrence. Being aware of the signs and symptoms and how to prevent them means that you can avoid injury or recover much quicker if you experience a sports hernia. Always consult with a specialist if you think you might have an inguinal disruption. The quicker you know, the quicker you can recover and get back on the ice.

Dr. William Brown and his team have years of experience working with hockey players, as well as athletes from all sports. As the sports hernia specialist for the San Jose Sharks, he is intimately familiar with the specific injuries that can result from hockey games and the most effective paths for recovery. Dr. Brown’s years of experience and extensive knowledge on sports hernia injuries in hockey players offer an unparalleled advantage, one that can lead to a stronger, faster recovery.