You probably wouldn’t be too surprised to learn that the sport with the highest participation rate in the world is soccer. But did you know that volleyball is number two? That’s right – whether it’s indoor or beach, volleyball is a hugely popular sport among both men and women. In fact, almost a half million high school students in the U.S. alone play volleyball every year. So whether you are the parent of a teen volleyball player or an avid beach volleyball rec league participant, we want you to be ready for you next season – and that means avoiding injuries!
Most Common Volleyball Injuries
• Finger injuries
No one who has played volleyball for even a minute is surprised by this. Whether the finger is jammed, fractured, or dislocated, all that hand action with a fast-flying ball is bound to lead to finger injuries now and then.
• Ankle injuries
Ankle injuries are also common among volleyball players. Jumping and landing hard and awkwardly or quick side to side and front to back moves can leave ankles open to twisting, sprains, and even fractures.
• Knee injuries
The causes of knee injuries are the same as ankle injuries, with the extra added danger of the digs that require players to drop to their knees or dive for a ball. Knee pads can help, but can’t prevent all knee injuries in this high-impact scene.
• Shoulder injuries
Many shoulder injuries among volleyball players are from repeated movements but some injuries, like a rip to the rotator cuff, can happen suddenly if muscles aren’t properly prepared for sudden movement.
• Lower back problems
The arching and twisting of the back that is so often required during volleyball can cause muscles, tendons, ligaments, and even the spine itself to suffer damage and misalignment during practice or matches.
How to Avoid Volleyball Injuries
Let’s face it: sometimes injuries can’t be avoided. But if you could do a few simple things that would greatly reduce your risk of injury, wouldn’t that be an amazing thing? Here’s a list of the easiest things you can do that will help keep you injury free during your volleyball practices and matches:
• Wear shoes with good ankle and arch support.
• Wear appropriate protective gear on your knees, elbows, and even legs (to avoid floor burn, etc.).
• Pay attention to your form.
• Warm-up slowly before each practice / match and do your best to stay warm while on the bench.
• Stay hydrated. Even mild dehydration can cause muscles to cramp, which can cause injury if it happens during a play.
• Don’t let minor injuries go untreated, lest they become major injuries.
• Rest! - between seasons and between practices and matches.
• Stay in shape between seasons so the beginning of the season isn’t a shock to your body – that’s when injuries are most likely to happen!
How Chiropractic Can Help Volleyball Injuries Heal
Chiropractic offers two ways to help volleyball injuries. The first method is to help keep your body in the best possible condition so that injuries are less likely to happen – after all, the best injury is one that never occurs. This includes keeping your spine aligned and flexible and keeping tabs on your whole body flexibility and health.
But should you get injured in a volleyball practice or game, chiropractic care can also help you heal not only faster, but better. To show you how this works, let’s examine how a chiropractor can help someone with, for instance, a sprained ankle.
After your doctor has determined that your ankle is sprained (and not anything more serious like a fracture), they will most likely advise you to RICE: rest, ice, compress, and elevate. This will kick off your healing process. Meanwhile, you might need crutches to keep weight off your injured ankle. Crutches can be great for protecting an injured lower limb, but can cause strain on other parts of your body like your opposite knee, back, arms, and wrists. This is a common occurrence with many sports injuries: while trying to let the injured area rest, you may overwork another area of your body.
Your chiropractor can help you monitor the other areas of your body that are being put to greater use because of your injury. This may include easing sore muscles and making sure that being “off-kilter” due to an injury doesn’t cause long-term misalignments to your hips, back, and other areas of your body.
As your ankle begins to heal, your chiropractor can help guide you in your recovery. Beginning with gentle stretching and strengthening exercises that assure your injury doesn’t result in the area being stiff or tight, your doctor will help you get back to the court as soon as possible, with as little chance of recurrent injury as possible.
Have you experienced a volleyball injury? We’re here to help. Call today to schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified chiropractors.