When thinking about injuries related to ice hockey, ankle injuries may not be the first thing you think of, and understandably so. But, when examining the amount of games and practices missed amongst Division I College Ice Hockey Players, ankle injuries resulted in the most amount of time missed.
While many of us have suffered an ankle sprain in the past, in ice hockey the most common ankle injury is a syndesmotic sprain or better known as a high ankle sprain. A high ankle sprain occurs when there is damage to the ligaments connecting the distal tibia and fibula. The high prevalence of these injuries amongst ice hockey players is likely the result of the equipment required to play the game.
The design of the stiff skate boot limits the amount of ankle dorsiflexion the athlete can emit during practices and games. With the demands of the game requiring rapid changes of direction at high speeds, the individual is predisposed to the ankle being subjected to high amounts of torque. Since ankle mobility is restricted as a result of the stiff skate boot, movement is likely to occur just above the ankle joint, which results in the high ankle sprain.
To help reduce the likelihood of a high ankle sprain, all ice hockey athletes are encouraged to continually address the soft tissue structures surrounding the ankle and incorporate ankle mobility drills.
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