Knee injuries are the second most common injury suffered in ice hockey, second only to concussions. Knee injuries primarily occur during games and are often times a result of a collision or due to another player falling onto the individual’s leg.
The knee is made up of 2 joints: the tibiofemoral joint which consists of the long bone of the upper leg (femur) and the shin bone of the lower leg (tibia). The patellofemoral joint consists of the knee cap (patella) moving with the femur. Additionally, the knee consists of several passive stabilizing ligaments such as the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL), Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL), and the Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL). For a visual description, check out the video below.
With knee injuries being common within the ice hockey population, the Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) is the most often injured structure. The MCL is a critical passive stabilizing structure of the knee that is located on the inside of the knee and attaches at the femur and the tibia. An MCL injury often results due to excessive force to the outside of the knee resulting in a stretch of the MCL.
While it may not be possible to completely prevent knee injuries during the game of ice hockey, strategies can be taken to ensure the athlete is able to withstand the rigors of the sport. Strategies to help reduce the likelihood of knee injury should address the soft tissue structures surrounding the knee, strengthening of the quadriceps, hamstrings, and hip musculature.
Follow along on our social media as we share how we treat and manage MCL and other knee injuries to keep athletes on the ice.