Bump, Set, Spike, Part 1

Volleyball has been a popular worldwide sport for both the avid athlete and the “weekend warrior” ever since its conception in 1895. Current reports estimate that over eight million people in about 130 countries play volleyball, making it one of the world’s most played sports.

However, each year there are more than 187,000 volleyball-related injuries in the United States alone. Although injury rates in volleyball are difficult to determine with precision, the majority of injuries are from overuse, which accounts for between 50-80 percent of all volleyball-related injuries.

The highest rate of volleyball injury is associated with blocking, followed by spiking, both of which require a jump. Defense is associated with a smaller number of injuries, and serving and passing even fewer.

There are two different types of volleyball injuries: acute (immediate trauma) and chronic injuries (overuse).

Acute Injuries

Ankle Sprain: Ankle sprains account for 15 to 60 percent of acute injuries in volleyball. Most athletes injure their ankles when they land after blocking or spiking a ball at the net. The most common mechanism of injury is forced supination (the body rolls over that ankle), when the blocking player’s foot rolls lands on an opposing spiker’s foot that has come underneath the net. When this happens, the usual result is an inversion injury to the lateral ligaments of the ankle. There are different degrees or grades of ankle sprains ranging form Grade 1 to 3.

Though it is important to establish the degree of injury, the important thing to remember is to get immediate treatment and assessment on the ankle injury.

If the injury is not treated, than the athlete may possibly suffer from ankle injuries for the rest of their life, in competition or out of competition. This will cause a lifelong problem of “weak ankles” since the ankle joint is a weight-bearing joint.

When an ankle injury occurs, there are a few basic steps that should be followed by the athlete and/or coach:

The shoe or ankle brace should be kept on immediately following the incident. The compression will help with the swelling. It may be removed when the athlete is transported to the doctor or athletic trainer.
Elevate the leg and place an ice pack on the ankle for a minimum of 15 minutes or until help arrives.
Seek professional help. An ankle injury can be more serious. X-rays may be warranted to rule out any stress or avulsion fracture (the trauma cause the ligament to pull a piece of bone from the ankle).
Prevention: There are many different factors that contribute to the prevention of an ankle injury. Prevention is possible through a training program that emphasizes avoidance of the centerline during practice and teaches the player to jump vertical instead of forward. The athletes should always wear protective ankle braces during practice and competition. A good ankle brace will have a lateral bar that will not allow the ankle to roll.

The downfall to the ankle brace is that the athlete may complain of its restriction or lack of agility. This is to the discretion of the athlete (or usually coaches), whether they sacrifice movement over protection. The best way to prevent an ankle injury is through a proper training program.

The ankle rehabilitation program will vary with each athlete but should include proprioreceptive exercises, such as balance (wobble) board training.

Finger and Toe Sprains: This is another acute injury that accounts for approximately 10 percent of acute injuries. The radial collateral ligament sprain of the thumb is the most common volleyball-related hand injury. Also, individual fingers can be sprained or dislocated from blocking the ball or digging. “Sand Toe” is a term coined to describe a plantar flexion injury occurring when the player rolls over the toes in the sand. The injury is likely to sprain the big toe. This injury can be described as the reverse version of turf toe.

This entry was posted on Monday, September 17th, 2012 at 12:53 pm and is filed under Fitness. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.