In this retrospective investigation we have determined the rate and types of knee injuries among Swedish ice hockey players, and related these data to the use of knee braces. Thirty-seven of the originally selected 50 hockey teams (74%) of elite or first division calibre took part in the study, and 600 players answered a questionnaire. A total of 254 previous knee injuries sustained while playing hockey were reported by 243 players; tears of the medical collateral ligament (60%), meniscus (15%) or anterior cruciate ligament (12%) were the most commonly reported injuries. Prophylactic knee braces were worn by 138 (23%) of the players. Of these, 122 (88%) had earlier sustained a knee injury, and 16 had not. A total of 17 knee injuries had occurred while the players were wearing a brace. Six of these players had previously uninjured knees while 11 had repeat injury in a brace despite earlier successful rehabilitation or operation. The most common injury in braced knees was a tear of the medial collateral ligament. We conclude that the number of knee injuries is high among Swedish ice hockey players, and that the efficacy of functional knee braces to reduce knee injuries is questionable.
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