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Published on February 6th, 2012 | by Papa Doc

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Hip Check

Just as a derby blocker would, I recommend “hip checks” – before playing as well as during – because of several problems that occur in and around the hip.

The muscles on the back of the thigh which flex the hip (the hamstrings) are often strained. The best way to avoid hamstring pulls is a thorough program of stretching and warm-up exercises. Strengthening the hamstrings will also go a long way to keeping hamstring pulls from troubling you during the season. When injured, a rehabilitation with rest, icing, and stretching is needed. Your trainer or medical team should work with you.

HipThigh_Posterior.gif

Groin pulls (hip flexor muscle strains) occur either acutely (abrupt hyperextension of the hip) or from repeated over-use injury. Again, it is better to prevent a pull with a thorough warm-up and stretching exercises frequently, even when not skating. If injured, rest and icing should start the rehab. An elastic compression wrap around the upper thigh may help reduce the pain. Your medical team should work with you on a program of rehab with stretching and strengthening.

Because of the frequency of falls onto the hip and thigh, contusions (deep bruises) are a major derby hazard. Often involving the muscles, they are painful and limit movement. Rest, frequent icing, and a compression dressing are important first steps. Compression right away will reduce the amount of bleeding into the muscle. An ice bath, though initially unpleasant, is a good way to relieve pain and reduce swelling. These are slow healing injuries, often nagging at you for a few weeks. The contusions heal with scar tissue that sometimes results in a persisting lump in the area; the lump can persist for several months. These lumps are usually painless and don’t result in problems. They should not be “mashed” out because that can further injure the tissue, making the area sore and inducing more scar tissue. The one thing that may help is gradual constant pressure from a compression dressing for several weeks. Rehabilitation should include stretching to prevent the muscle from healing in a shortened position. Prevention with diapers and/or foam padding or commercial hip pads or hockey girdles is often a good idea.

The IT band (IlioTibial) runs from the hip down the outside of the upper leg to the knee. Many skaters have tight IT bands that will become painful from falls or repeated over-use. If your trainer finds your bands to be tight in the pre-season exam, work hard to increase the flexibility by stretching exercises. The injury is often a lingering, nagging one so avoiding injury is smart. Once injured, ice, rest, and gentle stretching within the limits of pain are recommended.

As you may have gathered, the recurrent theme here is prevention by stretching, strengthening, and flexibility. Your trainer, coach, or medical team should be able to help you to do this. If you don’t have that kind of support, the following link will provide the basics you need:
http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/PDFs/Rehab_Hip_3.pdf.

Check it out and skate hard.

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Papa Doc


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