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Volleyball Injuries - Types, and Prevention

Published on Mar 31, 2023   -  4 min read


Volleyball is a sport with an increased risk factor for injuries. This article reviews specific volleyball injuries and preventive measures.


Volleyball is one of the most popular sports, with high participation in indoor and outdoor (beach volleyball), played on the sand with two people on each side. Unfortunately, both frequently experience identical injuries. Most injuries, whether acute or overuse, are due to improper technique, frequent repetition, or an unfavorable playing surface. Hence, young athletes are more prone to volleyball injuries due to long-term practice.

What Types of Injuries Are Most Common in Volleyball?

According to the study, the following ten are most common among athletes due to repetitive actions like spiking and blocking. Moreover, volleyball players are more susceptible to finger injuries.

Volleyball Ankle Injuries: Ankle sprains are the most common traumatic injuries noticed by volleyball players. Predominantly, ankle sprains recover within a few days or weeks. Rarely, severe traumatic injuries lead to fractures and ligament or tendon tears that require surgical intervention.

  • Causes: Occur at the net when the opposing player lands on another player’s foot.

  • Symptoms: Pain, swelling, internal bleeding, tenderness, instability of the ankle bone, and a popping or crackling sound at the time of injury.

  • Treatment: The initial phase of therapy involves appropriate rest for 24 to 48 hours. Ice packs and compression are recommended for 15 to 20 minutes every two hours to reduce swelling and pain. Elevation of the ankle bone above the heart with the help of a pillow promotes blood circulation, an integral part of healing. Most ankle injuries are treated conservatively with bracing and physical therapy. Unfortunately, surgery is indicated for subtle fractures or cartilage injuries that won't respond to conservative treatment.

  • Post-operative Care: Each ankle sprain requires an 8-week rehabilitation or exercise course to decrease the risk of recurrent inflammation. The player can return to the sport once they have no pain and can support their body weight while standing on their toes.

Jumper’s Knee (Patellar Tendonitis): It is a severe knee injury that affects volleyball players due to overuse of the patellar tendon (fibrous band around the knee cap), resulting in pain and stiffness.

  • Causes: Repeated jumping on hard surfaces generates stress on your patellar tendon, leading to a microtear.

  • Symptoms: Severe pain, swelling, popping sound at the time of injury, restricted movement.

  • Treatment: The treatment modalities are the same as for an ankle injury: excessive tendon tears are reconstructed surgically.

  • Post-operative Care: Players were advised to undergo rehabilitation therapy and a strength training program following surgery.

Rotator cuff tendonitis (shoulder injuries): Repeated serving, spiking, blocking, and hitting damage the tendons and ligaments of the shoulder, usually seen in long-term players.

  • Causes: Overuse of shoulder muscles by extreme serving and spiking

  • Symptoms: Radiating pain from the arm to the shoulder worsens at night. The degree of pain alters with body posture while bending back. Clicking sound noticed on movement.

  • Treatment: Palliative care (symptomatic treatment) is provided to decrease pain and inflammation. And stretches and exercises help in attaining flexibility. However, if symptoms persist, surgery is indicated.

  • Post-operative Care: Exercise increases mobility and muscular endurance.

Finger Injuries: The finger sprain and strain caused by stretching or tearing ligaments and by pulling up muscles resulting in pain and swelling. Occasionally, it may also result in dislocation and fracture of the finger.

  • Causes: Excessive force or stress act on the finger by hitting the ball.

  • Symptoms: Pain, swelling, internal bleeding, muscle spasm, and restricted joint movement.

  • Treatment: Strain and sprain are treated with R.I.C.E (rest, ice therapy, compression, and elevation) protocol, as with ankle injury. In contrast, dislocation and fracture require surgical treatment.

  • Post-operative Care: The patient was advised to avoid volleyball practice till recovery from pain and other symptoms.

Concussions: A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that results in temporary memory loss (amnesia) and alters brain function. According to a study, volleyball players are experiencing more concussions. Concussions are distinguished into mild, moderate, and severe based on loss of consciousness over a while.

  • Causes: The traumatic hit of the ball to the head, contact injuries between teammates, and snatching the head to the floor result in a high chance of concession.

  • Symptoms: Dizziness, headache, temporary memory loss (amnesia), nausea, blurred vision, slurred speech, constant ringing in the ears, abnormal behavior, and sensitivity to light.

  • Treatment: The standard treatment protocol for concussion is plenty of rest, and it is advised to avoid using screens (mobile, television, and computer). Usually, sunglasses and noise-canceling headphones are prescribed to protect from bright light and phonophobia (ringing in the ears). At a later stage, some people may suffer post-concussive syndrome (inability to concentrate, mood swings, headache, fatigue, dizziness, insomnia, and drowsiness) for several weeks or months. Patients with the post-concussive syndrome are strictly advised to avoid physical activity due to the risk of repeated concussions, which may result in brain swelling, also known as a second-impact syndrome.

  • Post-operative Care: Complete rest is advised, as it is essential to strictly avoid heavy exercise and bright light since it delays the healing time.

How Can Volleyball Injuries Be Avoided?

The majority of volleyball injuries can be avoided with proper training and techniques. Some of the following tips can assist you in preventing traumatic injuries:

  • Warm up the muscles and stretch with minor aerobic exercise.

  • Consume plenty of water and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

  • A strength training program for the hip, shoulders, legs, and lower back muscles promotes flexibility and prevents future injury.

  • Avoid or limit excessive jumping on a hard surface.

  • Maintain cardiac health by internal training using poly metrics (jumping exercise), ladder, and shuttle drills.

  • Use external ankle support, like a brace or tape, to avoid the ankle rolling up.

  • Strictly avoid entering the battleground before getting clearance from the physician.


A strength training program comprises planks, bridges, squats, and tuck jumps that helps in improving body balance, stability, and strength of the shoulder. It also helps in preventing the overuse of the rotator cuff and scapular muscles (which help in shoulder rotation). Evaluating the severity of volleyball injuries is necessary to prevent them from happening. It is essential to learn injury prevention techniques along with the practice sessions.

Last reviewed at:
31 Mar 2023  -  4 min read




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