Volleyball has one of the highest participation rates around the globe, second only to soccer.
Because of the physical nature of volleyball, people who play it, whether professionally or not, are known to suffer from a lot of injuries.
This includes both indoor and beach variants.
The actions associated with volleyball tend to be repetitive, and often explosive, with the knees, back and hands most susceptible to injury.
Despite how common these injuries tend to be, most of them are fairly mild, and with the right kind of injury management, it’s not that difficult to bounce back from them.
Here are the most common injuries in volleyball, and how you can treat or prevent them.
Because volleyball involves a lot of explosive jumping, injuries to the knee, particularly to the tendons surrounding the patella, is quite common.
Jumping repeatedly on hard surfaces can cause impact stress on your patellar tendon, the tendon that’s connecting your kneecap to your shin bone.
This injury is known as Patellar Tendonitis, or more commonly known as Jumper’s Knee. It is characterized by the inflammation of the patellar tendon, as well as the surrounding muscles of your knee. It’s also common amongst other jumping sports, such as basketball.
Since this injury happens commonly amongst players that often play on hard surfaces, patellar tendonitis is relatively less common amongst beach volleyball players.
The sand itself offers a bit of shock absorption that can alleviate the stress being done to the knees.
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Lower Back Injury
Playing volleyball involves a lot of bending and twisting, which can be problematic for your lower back.
Most of the lower back pain volleyball players suffer from are because of the strain on the muscles and ligaments, which can easily be alleviated with proper rest and support.
If the player is starting to feel the pain radiating down their legs, or are also suffering from weakness or numbness on their ankles or feet, then they may be suffering from a herniated disk.
The best way to diagnose a herniated disk is to get an MRI. Despite the severity of the pain, however, it’s one of the milder back injuries players could suffer, and can easily be remedied by rest.
It starts becoming a problem, however, if the lower back pain persists for more than a month.
If that is the case, and if the pain becomes worse when the player bends forward, then they may be suffering from a stress fracture on one of the boney rings on their spine.
This condition is known as Spondylolysis, and if not treated right away, can be a career-limiting, or ending, injury.
Injuries to the ankle are also very common in volleyball and are responsible for the most lost playtime amongst players.
This sort of injury is particularly damaging since you wouldn’t be able to move, let alone play for the duration of the treatment.
Most ankle injuries are caused by sprains, which are easy enough to treat with rest and rehabilitation.
However, when the pain doesn’t disappear for several weeks, then it’s possible that you may be suffering from a cartilage injury or a fracture.
Confirmation of this can be done via X-ray or MRI.
Volleyball players use their hands a lot, and by proxy, their fingers whenever they block, set or dig. This puts their fingers in a lot of risk for injury.
Common finger injuries involve dislocations, inflamed tendons, or ligament tears, all of which are considered mild and treatable with just rest.
If the player isn’t able to bend or move the finger in general, however, then they may have suffered from a fracture.
Though it’s rare to have to undergo surgery or some other major medical intervention to fix a problem on your finger, it’s best to let the physician know if one or more of your digits is giving you a problem.
How to Prevent Common Injuries in Volleyball
Most of the common injuries in volleyball can be prevented so long as you follow the proper guidelines in training set by your coaches. It’s always a good idea to listen to them, since they themselves have at one point in the past been injured.
Aside from following these training guidelines, here are a few things you can do as well:
- Strengthening exercises in the problem area
- Proper dynamic warm-up before training (not stretching)
- Proper cool-down stretches after training
- Always use proper technique during play (your coach can help with this)
- Get enough rest
- Improve your diet
- Always stay hydrated
- If any sort of pain persists, go to the doctor immediately
- Always treat your injuries as they happen, don’t push yourself