Are you injured or just sore?

ambulanceIf you get leveled into the boards, see stars, your forearm is now at a 90⁰ angle and when people talk to you they all sound like the teacher from those Charlie Brown specials you used to watch on TV, it is obvious to you and everyone else that an injury has occurred.  You will not be returning to the hockey game.  But what if you just have a ‘tweak’?

Hockey players have acute body aches and pains following games or off-ice training routinely and in this post I will share a few of the common causes.  Then stay tuned for the follow up post where I will help you decide if you actually have an injury or just a little discomfort.

  1. DOMS or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness is the discomfort that you feel after any unaccustomed physical activity.  Do you remember the first time you discovered the bench press?  Your training partner would come up and jab you in the outside of your chest right near your armpit and you would fall down on the ground and roll around in pain for a while?  That is DOMS and it should resolve over 3-5 days.
  2. Bruises or contusions happen when the hockey player gets his/her soft tissue is pinched in some manner.  Remember getting slashed in the forearm by your opponent and then the next day you saw a bruise in the perfect shape of a hockey stick?  In this case your forearm muscles were pinched between your forearm bones and the dirty players Easton.  The contusion causes the muscle to bleed and that is what the bruise represents.  These should resolve over 5-7 days and icing may help. 
  3. Sprain and strains are what hockey players often refer to as a ‘tweak’.  Sprains are muscle injuries and strains are injuries to ligaments.  For a strain the hockey player will often feel pain in a muscle while skating or shooting.  Sometimes they will move and immediately feel a pull or the discomfort may build over time.