Given the nature of the game, the most common volleyball injuries likely aren’t hard to guess: shoulder overuse, finger fractures and sprained ankles.
Injuries aren’t inevitable, and knowing how to prevent the new and treat the old can go a long way toward keeping young athletes off the bench and in the game.
Here's a brief overview of common volleyball injuries, as well as how to prevent and treat them.
Volleyball By the Numbers
An estimated 460,000 high school students play volleyball, and the vast majority – 410,000 – are girls. As the number of players has increased over time, so has the number of injuries.
Volleyball injuries rank the lowest for all of the major sports, but it isn’t without its risks.
Rotator cuff tendinitis is a common shoulder injury for volleyball players, who rely on those muscles for serving and spiking. It’s rare to see torn rotator cuffs in young players and more common to see irritation and fatigue brought on by overuse.
Prevention: Proper strength training techniques for shoulders
Talk to a doctor if: Pain persists
Volleyball players use their fingers for blocking, setting and digging, making their valuable digits more vulnerable to fractures and dislocations, as well as tendon and ligament tears.
Prevention: Finger strengthening exercises, taping
Treatment: Varies depending on the injury
Talk to a doctor if: You’re unable to bend the finger
Ankle injuries are the most common volleyball injury, and most lost playing time can be attributed to them.
Prevention: An external ankle support, such as an ankle brace or taping
Treatment: Immobilize the injured ankle for as short a time as possible; daily rehabilitation for eight weeks
Talk to a doctor if: Pain continues after several weeks
Other Common Volleyball Injuries
Other common injuries include:
- Patellar tendinitis
- Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injury
- Low-Back Pain
With any injury, players should return to the court only after receiving clearance from a medical professional. A sports medicine specialist can help with volleyball and other athletic injuries, including these common sports injuries. For immediate treatment of athletic injuries, visit an ortho urgent care clinic.