Hockey Shoulder Injuries

Holly B. is an active professional in her late twenties who spends her free time playing recreational flag football and league basketball. She shares her experience with us as she explores the world of sports.

Now that I’ve recovered from my own injury, I’m much more aware of the strain we put on our bodies during sports. Last week I went to the Ducks vs. Redwings hockey game in Anaheim. I’ve only been to a handful of hockey games in my life, so it was almost like watching a hockey game for the first time. I embarrassed myself by calling the puck a “ball” several times, but overall I really enjoyed watching the game. What amazed me was how hard the players slammed each other into the walls of the rink!

Checking in ice hockey is typically a defensive maneuver and it’s totally legal to push another player into the side of the ice rink. However, the hockey player’s shoulder takes the brunt of the force between their opponent’s body and the side of the rink. This can lead to hockey shoulder strain and injuries. Some common hockey shoulder injuries include AC joint separation (separated shoulder) and dislocated shoulder. These injuries can also occur from falling on the ice… or during the occasional hockey fight.

Wearing hockey braces can help prevent shoulder injuries. After the game I checked here on and was happy to find that they offer shoulder braces for hockey. Here are some of the shoulder supports recommended by brace coaches:

DonJoy Sully Shoulder Support – ideal for sports to give extra shoulder support from underneath your uniform to help prevent hockey shoulder injuries

DonJoy Shoulder Stabilizer – designed to help you recuperate as quickly as possible after a hockey shoulder injury

What is Shoulder Separation?

Many people think that shoulder separation is the same as a dislocated shoulder. In his latest blog, Dr. Kevin McIntyre of Burlington Sports Therapy explains that they’re actually different and shares more about shoulder separation. Here is an excerpt:

“Put your hand on your clavicle (or collar bone as many people call it) and follow it outwards as far as you can toward your shoulder; that big bump at the end on the top of your shoulder is called your acromioclavicular joint or “AC joint”. Traumatic injuries to this joint are common accounting for 9% of injuries to the shoulder. Sprain of the AC joint is often referred to as a separated shoulder.”

Check out the full article and learn more about shoulder separation, symptoms and how to treat it. One of these treatments for shoulder separation may involve wearing a shoulder brace to help support the shoulder as it heals. If you are experiencing shoulder pain or soreness, especially after a traumatic injury, consult your doctor for the appropriate diagnosis and treatment.

Rotator Cuff Degeneration

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles in the shoulder that is commonly injured. When one of these muscles is torn, it is known as a rotator cuff tear. What many people do not know is that this area of the shoulder is also extremely susceptible to injury due to aging. Dr Kevin McIntyre of Burlington Sports Therapy explains what rotator cuff degeneration is and how to help treat it. Here is an excerpt:

“Many people don’t realize that our shoulder muscles (in particular the rotator cuff muscles) can wear down with time. The concept of rotator cuff degeneration is now a well established explanation for shoulder pain for many patients over the age of 40.

Rotator Cuff Injury is Progressive

There are different theories as to how the aging rotator cuff gets injured. Sure, there can be a spectacular event which initiates all the pain, but there doesn’t have to be. For many people, an “event” of injury is what they relate the symptoms to, but there was years of tendon degeneration already occurring which perhaps made the injury inevitable.  Tendon degeneration can be considered progressive.  Over time it gets worse and worse, where at the far end of progression is a complete tear of a rotator cuff tendon.”

Check out the full article and learn more about causes and treatment for rotator cuff degeneration. In some cases, wearing a shoulder brace may help the injured area to heal. You should always speak with your doctor before treating shoulder pain and other injuries. If you’re over 40 or use your shoulder in a lot of activities and are experiencing shoulder pain, check with your doctor to see if rotator cuff degeneration is a possibility.

Rotator Cuff Tears and Treatment

The rotator cuff is an important joint in your shoulder that helps control movement in your arm. It has the largest range of motion of any of the joints in your body, and can be injured due to traumatic force or through years of use. Dr. Kevin McIntyre of Burlington Sports Therapy helps explain rotator cuff tears and treatment. Here’s an excerpt:

So you have a sore, painful shoulder and you’ve been told it’s a rotator cuff tear. But what does that mean? How do you treat a torn rotator cuff muscle? How do you know if your rotator cuff is torn? Let’s start with the basics…

What is a rotator cuff tear?

A rotator cuff tear is a very common injury affecting one (or more) of four different muscles in the shoulder. A tear can be partial or complete and can sometimes involve retraction of the tissue. Rotator cuff tears can be painful but they don’t have to be. They can often be associated with a traumatic event…but they don’t have to be! Rotator cuff tears can occur after years and years of use and are much more common in those people over 60.

Check out the full article and learn more about rotator cuff tears. Rotator cuff tears can severely impede your everyday living. If you’ve been diagnosed with a rotator cuff tear, your doctor may recommend a shoulder brace for rotator cuff tears.

How to Improve Bad Posture

Did you know that many shoulder and neck injuries are a result of bad posture? Poor posture can cause back and neck pain, headaches, and shoulder and arm pain. It can affect individuals who work in an office, professional athletes, or pretty much anyone.

A recent article reported that Florida Marlins pitcher Josh Johnson’s shoulder injury may be a result of bad posture. Now he’s standing straighter and even wearing a customized shirt that keeps his shoulders back.

Here are some ways to prevent back and shoulder pain resulting from poor posture:

  • Switch to an ergonomic chair in areas such as your office where you will have long periods of sitting.
  • Take frequent short breaks and walks.
  • Stand taller, with your shoulders back. In short, be aware of your posture and correct it.
  • Wear a posture support which can help you maintain correct positioning in your upper back.

Any person can have poor posture, but it is especially common among taller individuals and those who work at desk jobs. If you are at risk, speak with your doctor about ways to improve your posture.