Volleyball Injuries

Volleyball injuries account for a small percentage of all organized sports injuries. However participation in the sport is on the rise, and with that comes more opportunity for injury. Because volleyball players repeatedly use their shoulders for serving, spiking, and blocking, overuse injuries of the shoulder are common. Several strategies can help prevent volleyball injuries — from wearing appropriate safety equipment to proper warm up and cool down.


Here are some tips for how to avoid injury while playing volleyball:

Wear proper equipment

Make sure your safety gear fits you properly and wear it every time you play, whether during practice or a match. Use knee pads or defensive pants to protect yourself from injury when you fall or dive onto the court. Wearing shoes that provide strong ankle and arch support may help prevent injury.

Shoulder Stability

The range of motion of the shoulder and shoulder stability is essential in preventing shoulder injuries in overhead athletes. The rotator cuff (4 muscles which stabilize the main shoulder joint) and shoulder blade muscles, aid in shoulder stability and function. Working with a physical therapist to regain range of motion and shoulder stability may assist in optimal performance required for volleyball.

Warm up and cool down

Warm up of your muscles with stretching and light aerobic exercises helps to improve flexibility and your ability to move easily around the court. Stretching at the end of practice or after a match is an essential part in recovering. It can help reduce muscle soreness and keep muscles long and flexible.

Common Volleyball Injuries and Conditions

Sprained Ankle

The ankle joint is held in place by ligaments which stabilize it. When these ligaments are stretched beyond what they can bear from a sudden twist, turn or rolling of the ankle, the result is a sprain. Depending on the severity, this could even include the ligament being torn.

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Rotator Cuff Tendonitis

Rotator cuff tendonitis is an irritation or inflammation of the rotator cuff muscles of the shoulder that help to stabilize the shoulder joint. Patients will typically notice pain with repetitive overhead or reaching activities.

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Knee Ligament Injury (ACL, PCL, MCL)

The majority of stabilization in the knee comes from the ligaments. The cruciate ligaments are made up of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), which cross to form an “x” shape inside the knee. The collateral ligaments provide additional stability on the inside of the knee through the medial collateral ligament (MCL) and outside of the knee through the lateral collateral ligament (LCL). The LCL is not addressed in the following information, as it is seldom injured. Ligament injuries can come from sports-related movements such as pivoting, jumping, stopping quickly, or a direct impact to the knee. These injuries can happen to people of many ages and activity levels, and is by no means limited to athletes.

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