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Hockey Shoulder Injuries

Hockey and Ice Hockey are both violent games. 

Hockey involves teams of fierce players, weaponry, and hard ground. Not surprisingly many injuries occur as people struggle to score and defend their goals. 

One of the most common hockey injuries I see in my clinic is acromioclavicular separation, or AC separation. 

AC separation results from the spraining or tearing of ligaments in the shoulder.  Blows to the shoulder with the hockey stick or falling on an outstretched hand are most common hockey playing causes of shoulder separation.

AC Joint Separation

The intensity of an AC joint separation depends on the damage of its surrounding ligaments. 

AC separations are ranked from mild to severe, or graded from one to three. 

The first case is a simple sprain of the acromioclavicular joint.  Basically, the shoulder throbs, but all tendons and surrounding ligaments are intact. 

A complete tear of the AC ligament in conjunction with a sprain of the coracoclavicular ligament is a grade two separation. 

The worst case and final stage is a complete tear of AC ligaments and its coracoclavicular ligaments, separating the joint.  This often forms a bump or protrusion on the shoulder and limits movement.

AC separations usually occur due to harsh blows, falls to the ground, or rough sports like hockey and football.  Separations occur when then clavicle (collarbone) and the shoulder blade meet. 

Ligaments that hold them together may become partially or completely torn due to their situation.  Shoulder injuries often cause the outer end of the clavicle to slip, no longer supported by ligaments, to reach the scapula. 

This injury will produce a bump on the shoulder because of its location within the body. 

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