Hockey Goalie Knee Injuries

Portrait of ice hockey player kneeling on ice in front of goal, tilt

A goalie wears nearly 50 pounds in protective gear during a hockey game, which makes a goalie the most protected player on the ice. However, padding and protection can't always protect a goalie from injury. Approximately 31 percent of hockey injuries occur to the lower extremities. Many hockey goalies find themselves playing through or sidelined due to a knee injury. If you suspect you have sustained a knee injury while playing goalie, contact your physician.

Meniscal Injuries

Contact sport athletes -- including hockey players -- are at risk for meniscal injuries, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. The meniscus is the cartilage that cushions and stabilizes the joint between your thigh bone and shinbone. Meniscus injuries frequently involve full or partial tears of the cartilage. Goalies sustain knee injuries during a collision with another player, taking a puck to the leg or twisting their knee in the wrong direction while making a save. Treatment depends on the severity of the tear and can range from rest to surgical repair.

ACL Injuries

The ACL is the anterior cruciate ligament, located in the middle of your knee. It connects your thighbone and shinbone. The ACL also helps to stabilize the knee joint. ACL injuries can cause a knee to feel loose and unstable. Injuries are often the result of a sudden change of direction, twisting or an over-extension of the knee, which are the main maneuvers of a goalie. Goalies are likely to feel pain, swelling and instability when bearing weight. A severe ACL injury is treated with surgery. Partial tears are treated with rest, bracing and physical therapy.

Patellar Tendinitis

The patellar tendon is located in your knee cap and plays an important role in the ability to extend your knee. Tendinitis is often an overuse injury. With patellar tendinitis, pain is felt between the knee and the shinbone. This pain can range from dull to a constant ache. Goalies are likely to feel more pain while practicing and during games than they will on off days. Rest is the number one treatment method for patellar tendinitis. Stretching and strengthening can help prevent further issues with patellar tendinitis.

Knee Contusion

Hockey is considered a high-impact sport by the American Academy of Pediatrics. With goalies constantly on their feet and knees, repeated and direct blows to the knee are common. Most knee contusions are minor and heal quickly. More serious knee contusions or repeat contusions can lead to deep tissue damage. Symptoms of a knee contusion include pain, swelling and bruising. Rest, ice, elevation, compression and anti-inflammatory medicines are the recommended treatments for most knee contusions.

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