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The Most Common Injuries In Volleyball

Discover the most prevalent injuries volleyball players face, from sprained ankles to patellar tendon tears, and learn crucial prevention strategies to keep you safe on the court.

Volleyball is a popular sport played by people of all ages and skill levels. It requires agility, strength, and coordination to perform the various activities associated with the game. Unfortunately, even the most experienced athletes can suffer from injuries due to volleyball. The most common injuries from playing volleyball range from minor sprains and strains to more severe fractures or ligament damage. This article will explore the types of injuries most common in volleyball, their causes, and prevention strategies.

The primary cause of injury while playing volleyball is contact with other players or equipment, such as the net or court surface. High-impact collisions between players can lead to severe bone fractures and joint ligament damage. Overusing specific muscles can also cause strains and tendonitis, which can be painful and difficult to treat if not appropriately managed.

Finally, both coaches and players alike need to be aware of the potential risks associated with playing volleyball. Taking preventive measures such as proper warm-up exercises and ensuring the court surface is free of debris can help reduce the risk of injury for everyone involved in the game. By understanding these risks, coaches, and players can work together to create a safer environment for all participants in volleyball activities.

Acute Injuries

Acute injuries in volleyball are typically caused by a single traumatic event and occur suddenly. Common acute injuries include ankle sprains, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears, and shoulder dislocations. Ankle sprains are among the most frequent acute volleyball injuries, particularly during lateral movements, landing from a jump, or sudden changes in direction. Sprained ankles can be extremely painful depending on the severity of the injury and can take several weeks to heal properly. Prevention of ankle sprains includes strengthening the muscles around the ankle joint and wearing supportive shoes with good traction to reduce the risk of slipping or turning an ankle.

Other common acute volleyball injuries involve damage to ligaments and tendons in the knee or shoulder joints. The ACL is one of four ligaments that stabilize the knee joint; it is often injured when jumping or landing from a jump with feet close together. Injury to this ligament may require surgery if severe enough; thus, proper warm-up before playing is essential for reducing the risk of ACL tears or other serious acute injuries. Additionally, players should practice proper technique when jumping and landing and strengthen their core muscles to ensure stability when performing these activities.

Overuse Injuries

Ultimately, the more time spent playing volleyball, the higher the risk of developing an overuse injury. While acute injuries are sudden and severe, overuse injuries develop gradually with extended playing time. As such, players must be aware of their training volume and act accordingly to prevent these injuries.

Overuse injuries in volleyball can manifest as pain or discomfort in joints and muscles, limiting a player's performance or even sideline them completely. These are common issues among volleyball players due to the constant strain on the body from repetitive motions and movements. Here are three ways that a player can reduce their risk for overuse injury:

  • Increase rest days - Make sure to take at least one day off per week when playing volleyball
  • Monitor player hours - Track how long you spend training or playing each day
  • Change intensity of workouts - Alternate between high-intensity and low-intensity exercises during practice

These strategies can help minimize the risk of developing an overuse injury so that players can stay healthy and safe while engaging in their favorite sport. To maximize performance on the court, volleyball players need to pay attention to their training volume and take proactive steps toward preventing any type of injury.

Shoulder Injuries

Shoulder injuries are the most common among volleyball players, accounting for up to 40% of all injuries. Shoulder injuries can be caused by poor technique during practice or playing and when players overuse their shoulder muscles during practice. Improper warm-up and stretching before a practice session can also cause shoulder injuries. In addition, inadequate recovery time between practices and games can lead to shoulder pain or soreness.

Athletic training services should be able to provide early diagnosis and treatment of shoulder injuries to reduce the risk of further injury. Physical training should focus on strength and flexibility exercises targeting the shoulder muscles to promote healthy shoulders and prevent injury. Proper warm-up and stretching before each practice session are important in preventing shoulder injury. Additionally, proper rest between practices and games should always be taken to allow for adequate recovery time for the shoulders.

Knee Injuries

The theory that knee injuries are the most common injuries in volleyball has been widely accepted. However, recent research suggests it is not as prevalent as previously believed. According to a study conducted by sports medicine professionals, athlete exposures (hours an athlete plays) were the greatest factor in predicting injury risk among volleyball players. It was discovered that when hours of play increased, the rate of knee injuries decreased significantly.

This finding is significant because it means that athletes can reduce their risk of a knee injury by playing fewer hours and taking more rest days. While this may seem common sense, it highlights the importance of understanding how long an athlete has been playing and how many rest days they have taken before returning to the court. Additionally, knowing what type of activities or drills an athlete participates in during their practice time can help coaches and players better understand how to prevent such injuries.

Ankle Sprains & Range Of Motion Issues

Ankle sprains and range of motion issues are common injuries among volleyball players. A study of injury mechanisms in professional volleyball players found that ankle sprains accounted for 18% of all injuries, making it the second most frequent type after knee injuries. Recurrent ankle sprains have been reported to be a major problem among volleyball players, with some athletes experiencing two or more recurrent ankle sprains throughout one season.

Range of motion issues can also be problematic for volleyball players. Poor ankle flexibility and stability can cause pain and discomfort during play and an increased risk of injury. Players with poor range of motion should seek physiotherapy treatment to improve their mobility and reduce their risk of future injuries. Furthermore, coaches should emphasize proper warm-up and stretching exercises to help prevent muscle strains and joint injuries from occurring during practice or competition.

The frequency of ankle sprains and range of motion issues can be reduced through preventive measures such as appropriate training programs, protective equipment, and adequate rest between games. Additionally, a prospective season approach should be taken to monitor athletes' overall health to detect any signs or symptoms that may indicate an underlying condition that may predispose them to further injury. Taking these steps can help reduce the incidence of ankle sprains and range of motion issues among volleyball players.

Patellar Tendinopathy And Patellar Tendon Tear

Patellar tendinopathy and patellar tendon tear are two of the most common injuries affecting volleyball players. Patellar tendinopathy is when the patellar tendon becomes inflamed or damaged due to overuse, leading to pain below the kneecap. On the other hand, a patellar tendon tear is a complete rupture of the tendon that can be caused by trauma or sudden movement.

In both cases, female athletes are more likely to suffer from these conditions due to their greater susceptibility to knee injuries. The Journal of Athletic Training reported that female volleyball players are at higher risk for patellar tendinopathy than male athletes due to differences in muscle mass and jumping ability. Similarly, according to the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine, females have an increased risk of suffering a patellar tendon tear compared to males.

Some common signs and symptoms associated with both conditions include:

  • Pain below the kneecap
  • Swelling and tenderness around the kneecap
  • Difficulty straightening or bending the knee joint
  • Weakness in leg muscles such as quadriceps and hamstrings
  • Loss of range of motion in the knee joint

Diagnosis and treatment options may vary depending on whether it is a patellar tendinopathy or a fully torn patellar tendon. Treatment typically focuses on reducing inflammation through physical therapy exercises, rest, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs). Surgery may be recommended for more severe cases. To prevent these injuries from occurring, athletes need to be aware of proper warm-up techniques before playing volleyball, stretching regularly, and wearing appropriate support equipment such as knee braces or sleeves during games or practices.

Reducing The Risk Of Injury In Volleyball

Regarding reducing the risk of injury in volleyball, a study by the American Journal of Sports Medicine found that female players are more at risk than male players. The study looked at the number of hours of training and competition and pre-season preparation to identify potential risk factors. The results showed that female players who trained for more than 20 hours per week had a significantly higher risk of sustaining an injury than those who trained for fewer hours. Furthermore, those who did not complete pre-season activities were more likely to sustain an injury than those who did.

These findings suggest that coaches and players should reduce the risk of injury in volleyball by limiting the number of hours spent training and competing and ensuring that adequate pre-season preparation is completed before entering competition. Also, proper warm-up exercises should be encouraged before activity, as this can help reduce muscle fatigue and improve performance. Finally, it is important for athletes to always use the correct technique when executing movements such as serves or jumps to ensure they are performing them safely and effectively.


Playing volleyball can be an enjoyable activity for all ages. However, it does have its risks. The most common injuries in the sport are acute injuries, overuse injuries, shoulder injuries, knee injuries, ankle sprains, range of motion issues, patellar tendinopathy, and patellar tendon tears. All these conditions can be prevented with proper warm-ups and conditioning before playing. Taking the necessary precautions to prevent injury can help ensure a safe and successful experience on the court.

The key to reducing the risk of injury in volleyball is like a jigsaw puzzle; each piece must fit together for the best outcome. Proper warm-up exercises such as stretching and dynamic movements should be done before any physical activity. Moreover, when playing long periods, one should take breaks between games or practice drills. Lastly, proper nutrition and hydration are essential to ensure that muscles are ready to perform without any strain or stress.

Inertia Physio+ offers Kanata and Stittsville exceptional Physiotherapy, Athletic Therapy and Registered Massage Therapy with private treatment rooms, one on one care, a maximum of two patients per hour and treatment focused on the evidence based practices of manual and exercise therapy.   Don’t suffer any longer.  If you have pain or injury, our Kanata and Stittsville Physiotherapy, Athletic Therapy and Registered Massage Therapy team is here to help you get back to life pain free life and activities.  Please reach out to us at (613) 672-2200 or for an appointment today!  You are also welcome to book online. We also offer direct billing on Physiotherapy and Massage Therapy services whenever your plan allows.

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