Shoulder injuries in ice hockey players: Prevalence, common management, and return to play

Christopher A. White, Stephen J. O'Connor, Timothy R. Sestak, E. Spencer Fox, Paul J. Cagle

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: The sport of ice hockey has reached worldwide popularity, and it continues to grow. With this growth, however, there has also been an increase in the number of injuries related to the high-speed physical nature of the sport. Upper extremity related traumas and maladies are amongst the most commonly experienced injuries in this population of athletes. The objective of this narrative review is to appraise the current literary landscape as to the epidemiology, treatment, and return to play experienced with the most common upper extremity orthopedic injuries related to ice hockey play. Methods: PubMed, Google Scholar, and OVID were searched individually using the filtered terms “shoulder”, “injury”, and “ice hockey”. Articles that were published after 2000 were analyzed. Notably, the concepts of athlete sex, compete level, and post injury productivity were explored in detail. Results: It is evident in the literature that upper extremity injury rates increased as level of play increased, were more common in males, and occurred more often during in-game situations. Acromioclavicular joint separations, shoulder instability, and clavicle fractures were amongst the most commonly cited ice hockey upper extremity injury presentations; acromioclavicular joint injuries were considered the most common upper extremity injury in ice hockey players. Return to play depends on injury type and severity. Overall, performance decreased upon initial return from injury. Conclusion: Ultimately, further research needs to be conducted on shoulder related ice hockey injuries, their prevention, and the accurate management of specific presentations in order to ensure efficient and safe return to play.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-149
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Orthopaedics
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • Athletics
  • Ice hockey
  • Shoulder
  • Shoulder injury
  • Shoulder surgery
  • Upper extremity


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