Bumps, bruises and some serious injuries can and do occur on the court. Some injuries occur suddenly during activity. Others result from overusing one part of the body. Whenever pain is resulting from a particular movement or activity, the player should stop. There is never a good reason to try to work through the pain of an injury. Continuing the activity only causes more damage.
Common Volleyball Injuries
- Contusions (bruises) can be minimized by wearing appropriate protective gear.
Overuse injuries are caused by repetitive use of certain muscles. These injuries are common to young athletes at the peak of their growth potential.
- Sprains and strains: Ankle sprains are the most common type of volleyball injury. A sprain is any injury to aligament, which connects bone to bone. Avoid injury by participating in a pre-season strength and flexibility program. Ankle braces or taping can also be beneficial in preventing ankle sprains.
- Rotator cuff injuries: The rotator cuff is made up for four muscles that work together to help hold the head of the arm bone in place during shoulder rotation. Symptoms for this injury include pain with overhead activity, pain that is worse at night and stiffness in the shoulder joint. To prevent this injury it is important to strengthen the rotator cuff, stretch prior to activity and warm-up arms properly before any powerful overhead hitting.
- Hand injuries: Finger sprains are the most common hand injury. These sprains typically occur when trying to block and spike the ball. Fractures and contusions are also common injuries to the hand and fingers. Practicing spiking and blocking can help prevent hand injuries. If an injury does occur, buddy-taping the finger to a stronger one can help give support and prevent and further injury.
Patella tendonitis (Jumper’s knee): The patella tendon is found just below the kneecap. The tendon is put under a lot of stress during sudden bursts such as jumping. Symptoms include pain just under the kneecap, pain with quadriceps tightening, pain when walking up and down stairs, and pain with jumping. Rest and ice can help with pain. Teaching jumping techniques can help prevent the injury from occurring.
Assessing the severity of an injury can be difficult. When in doubt, seek the advice of a doctor.
Injuries may cause:
- Limited range of motion
- Loss of strength
For minor soccer injuries, think PRICEMM- Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation, Motion and Medicine. This will help limit swelling and further tissue damage, maintain range of motion and return the athlete to the court as quickly and as safely as possible.
Seek immediate medical attention for any of the following:
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and cartilage tears. Female players are especially at risk, because of weaker quadriceps and hamstring strength, muscle-firing patterns, the shape of their thighbones, estrogen ratios and sometimes poor pre-season conditioning.
- All athletes should stretch hamstrings and quadriceps and participate in strength-building exercises for these muscles, to help prevent serious injury.
- ACL injuries most often result from plant-and-twist motions. Adolescents have a high risk reoccurrence and a high potential for premature arthritis. Surgery is often necessary to repair ACL damage.
- Concussions are caused by a blow to the head. Symptoms may include confusion, short term memory problems and loss of consciousness.
- Fractures are breaks or disruptions in a bone. They may occur from one blow (acute) or from repetitive use (stress fracture). The severity ranges from mild hairline cracks to compound fractures breaking the skin.
- Hip and pelvis injuries can result from sudden bursts of movement. These are actually injuries to growth plates (areas in the bone where bone growth occurs and muscles attach), which remain open until the late teens (after puberty). Avoid injury with proper pre-season and pre-event stretching of the leg and hip muscles.