If you watch hockey, you know that injuries are common.\nIn professional sports, player injury reports often are vague \u2014 described only as \u201cupper body\u201d or \u201clower body\u201d.\nDharmesh Vyas, MD, PhD, an orthopaedic surgeon with UPMC Sports Medicine and the head team doctor for the Pittsburgh Penguins\u00ae, discusses common hockey injuries, including treatment and prevention.\nFor more information visit UPMSportsMedicine.com or call 1-855-93-SPORT (77678).\nUpper Body Injuries vs. Lower Body Injuries in Hockey\nUpper body injuries can include everything from head injuries to shoulder dislocations and elbow, wrist, and hand injuries. Lower body injuries, meanwhile, can include leg and ankle injuries, hip injuries, and lower back issues.\nCommon Upper Body Injuries and Treatment Options\nUpper body injuries are defined as injuries that occur above the waist.\nWhile most upper body injuries in hockey occur in the hands and wrists,other common upper body injuries:\n\nConcussions\nShoulder injuries, including shoulder separations and torn labrums\nBroken collarbones\nElbow injuries, including bursitis\nFacial injuries, including chipped teeth, cuts, and bruises\n\nTreatment for upper body injuries varies depending on the severity and location of the injury.\nSometimes an injured player may consult a medical professional on the bench or head to the locker room for a more complete evaluation. The player may get treatment and return to the ice \u2014 this is most common with something like a cut that only requires stitches.\nMore severe injuries may require the player to sit out the rest of the game and seek additional treatment in the coming days. The most severe injuries may require a player to be seen at a local hospital.\nRELATED:\u00a0Common Football Injuries\nCommon Lower Body Injuries and Treatment\nCommon lower body injuries \u2014 those that occur below the waist, particularly the legs or lower back, include:\n\nKnee ligament sprains and tears\nMeniscus injuries\nLower back injuries, including strains and pulled muscles\nHip labrum injuries\nGroin \/ sports hernias\nAnkle sprains and broken bones\n\nTreatment for these lower body injuries depends on severity. For strains and pulled muscles, players often are told to rest, stretch gently, and work their way back to full play.\nInjuries such as broken bones or torn ligaments may require surgery, casting, or bracing.\nOnce a player has a cast removed or has recovered from surgery, a specialized physical therapy program will help them return safely to the ice.\nAt all levels, hockey injuries are often the result of playing a high-speed, collision sport. However, other contributing factors include lack of rest, inadequate nutrition, inadequate strength and conditioning, and overuse.\nPreventing Upper and Lower Body Injuries\nOne of the easiest ways to safeguard against potential injuries is through proper conditioning, both on and off the ice. Engaging in off-season training on dryland as well as on-ice training ensures that players are in proper shape to play safely.\n\u201cDryland training that focuses on strengthening the lower back, pelvic core, and hip adductors may help prevent common injuries that can result from improper mechanics and poor conditioning,\u201d says Dr. Vyas.\nIn addition to proper conditioning and practice, the right equipment can help prevent injuries.\n\u201cGood quality equipment that fits well is one of the best ways to avoid injury,\u201d adds Dr. Vyas.\nTips to Prevent Injuries in Hockey\n\nDo not use equipment that is outdated, improperly repaired, or ill-fitting\nFully understand and play by the correct rules for your age and skill level\nMaintain proper hydration and nutrition before, during, and after play\nTake time to stretch and warm up muscles before each game\n\nThe experts at UPMC Sports Medicine treat and manage hockey injuries in players of any skill levels, helping them recover and safely return to their sport.