Volleyball is the only major team sport that does not involve physical contact between players. Volleyball players take part in long hours of intense training sessions and competitions throughout the year.
Often times, the gruelling schedules of athletes involve little time to rest in between competitions. This increases the risk of lower body injuries in volleyball. With a better understanding of how the body works, especially the lower body, players can stay in great shape and remain at the top of their game.
Common Volleyball Injuries
Volleyball is a sport that requires dynamic movement, flexibility, agility and coordination. Building lower body strength is part of a volleyball player’s training as certain moves such as the ability to jump come into play when blocking or spiking the ball.
The risk of injuries to the muscular and skeletal system is mainly linked to the dynamic nature of the sport. High-impact and overuse injuries are commonly reported by volleyball players, with the ankles, knees and shoulders reported as common sites of injuries.
Ankle sprains are the most common type of injuries volleyball players suffer from, especially while landing. These injuries can happen to middle-, left- and right-side hitters and often occur near the net while striking or blocking the ball.
A study by the School of Human Movement Studies states that some of the ways players injure their ankles include:
Jumper's knee is an overuse injury common in elite volleyball players. A 2008 study highlighted that the condition may develop due to reduced loading capacity, making the player less capable of generating or absorbing force which may result in poor jumping and/or landing technique.
Foot Posture and Injury Risk
Foot posture problems may increase the risk of injuries while playing volleyball. For example, if a player has flat feet, the foot arch collapses, causing the shin and thigh bones to twist inwards. This places stress on the knees, hips, and lower back.
As a weak foot posture can cause abnormal movements in the lower body, it can also affect the technique of a player. With poor technique and repetitive stress on the lower body, volleyball players with flat feet may be at a greater risk of developing problems with the muscles or joints of the legs or back.
Injury prevention and rehab plans for volleyball players should involve building lower body strength with exercises and dynamic warmups during training and games. If injuries to the lower body are caused by weak foot posture, MASS4D® insoles can be recommended as part of a complete treatment plan.
MASS4D® insoles support the foot in its optimal posture to promote proper distribution of weight to the feet. This reduces stress on the lower body caused by posture misalignment and enables healthy function of the feet.
MASS4D® insoles can be beneficial as part of a preventive care or rehab plan to promote proper function of the feet. This can help improve foot health to enhance athletic performance and reduce the risk of injury.
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Reference: James, L. P., Kelly, V. G., Beckman, E. M. (2014) Injury Risk Management Plan for Volleyball Athletes. Sports Medicine: September 2014, Vol. 44, No. 9, pp. 1185-1195. DOI: 10.1007/s40279-014-0203-9
Reference: James, L. P., Kelly, V. G., Beckman, E. M. (2014) The Impact of Prehabilitation on The Development of Strength and Power in a Block Periodised Training Plan. Journal of Australian Strength and Conditioning: March 2014, Vol. 22, No. 1, pp. 5-16.
Reference: Zwerver, J. (2008) Patellar Tendinopathy (Jumper’s Knee): A Common And Difficult To Treat Sports Injury. Nederlands Tijdschrift Voor Geneeskunde: September 2008, Vol. 152, No. 33, pp. 1831-1837.
Pilates refers to a series of exercises that target the core – the abdomen, obliques, lower back, inner and outer thigh, and so on. The movements involved in pilates also help to improve flexibility and posture while promoting core stability.