Most volleyball players will suffer from sprained ankles at some point in their careers. They also account for the bulk of delayed starts. A more severe sprain might weaken the ankle, increasing your risk of further damage if you don't treat and strengthen it properly. Injuries to the ankle, especially if they are sprained frequently, can cause chronic discomfort, arthritis, and continued instability.
Common ankle injuries when playing volleyball
One of the most typical injuries of volleyball players is the lateral ankle sprain. Most lateral ankle sprains occur when a player lands awkwardly on the foot's outer side. When players jump towards the net, they risk landing on their opponent's foot and shifting their weight to the outer edge of their foot.
For volleyball players, ankle sprains are the most prevalent source of medical attention and time missed on the court. You must keep the immobilization of sprained ankles to a minimum to facilitate a speedier recovery.
One can reduce the likelihood of re-injury following an ankle sprain with eight weeks of consistent rehabilitative exercise. Most injuries require noninvasive treatments like physical therapy, bracing, or home rehabilitation activities.
Ankle sprains are common, but sometimes they come with other injuries, like cartilage tears or tiny fractures. If discomfort persists beyond a few weeks, you should consider imaging tests like X-rays or MRIs.
Once players can stand on their toes without pain, they are typically cleared to play again. Ankle sprains that have happened multiple times despite rest and non-invasive treatment, or those with certain accompanying fractures, may require surgery.
What is an ankle brace for volleyball?
Ankle sprains and other minor injuries are often treated with immobilization and protection against further injury with the help of an ankle brace.
Better designed and more affordable than getting an athlete's ankle strapped, ankle braces began appearing more frequently in sports arenas and play areas in the early 1990s.
To provide additional support after an incident or to keep an ankle sprain from happening in the first place, ankle braces are now ubiquitous and come in various forms, including sport-specific options.
Different types of ankle braces for volleyball
Lace-up ankle braces
Ankle brace for volleyball that fastens with laces or Velcro have been around since 1887, but their basic corset shape has not changed much. Modern lace-up braces usually feature straps that cross over the instep and loop around your ankle.
Compression bands, often called elastic braces, are commonly used to alleviate the pain associated with tendonitis and minor ankle sprains. These braces are made from flexible, lightweight materials that don't restrict the ankle's natural range of motion. They're made to help stabilize joints, improve equilibrium, and lessen inflammation. Compression braces are helpful because they reduce muscle stiffness and maintain a warm ankle joint. They're commonly sold in whole shoe sizes; you can wear them on either the left or right ankle.
Hinged-cuff ankle braces
Designers spent years researching the limitations of traditional hinged ankle braces before releasing their state-of-the-art hinged-cuff design. The design's bottom foot piece is hinged to the design's upright section via a rotating hinge. A cuff covers the back of the lower leg in the upright region.
With the cuff design's added rotational strength, you can avoid those extremely high (syndesmotic) ankle sprains. Also, these ankle braces are essential in minimizing low ankle sprains due to excessive ankle rotation by supplying the assistance required to maintain the ankle position while enabling it to flex as it usually should.
Ankle sprains and stress fractures are common reasons doctors recommend stiff braces for active adults. Ankles are supported with a rigid plastic brace that wraps around both and fastens with Velcro. Rigid braces are very supportive; however, they might not fit in your shoes. Based on the situation, a doctor may advise a patient to move to a less restricted kind of brace after their ankle starts healing.
Advantages of using an ankle brace for volleyball
Ankle braces are designed to stop the foot and ankle from twisting inward and keep the toes and foot pointed forward. Many ankle injuries (stretching and ripping of tendons, ligaments, and other surrounding tissues) occur with quick twisting of your ankle joint while you go down the stairs or off the curb or sprint on an uneven, bumpy surface.
Ankle braces are commonly recommended by coaches, orthopedic specialists, primary care physicians, and podiatrists to provide joint support and avoid future harm once an ankle injury has occurred. Bracing alleviates pain and prevents the onset of scar tissue and arthritis. After medical treatments such as casts, surgery, exercise, physical therapy, or specialized training, you can use an ankle brace as a supplementary aid in recovery.
Other ways to prevent injury in volleyball
You can avoid overuse injuries by switching up your volleyball training program and taking frequent breaks. Training correctly for volleyball, which includes a program that addresses conditioning, strength, and flexibility, will develop strength, stamina, and quickness.
Volleyball players can better assure their safety and teammates' safety by engaging in the following sorts of injury prevention training and activities.
Volleyball calls for a distinct kind of stamina that isn't required in other sports like long-distance running. Volleyball is typically played in short spurts lasting around 20-30 seconds; therefore, players don't benefit much from extensive cardiovascular training. Interval training that includes simulated cutting and directional adjustments is preferable because it resembles actual gameplay more closely.
Athletes can enhance their stability and vertical leap by strengthening their core and legs. Among the many types of core-focused exercises are:
- Medicine ball squats
Some examples of leg-strengthening exercises are:
- Tuck jumps
Volleyball players can avoid overuse injuries by regularly strengthening their scapular muscles or rotator cuff. For the repetitive motions of serving, setting, and spiking the volleyball, shoulder stability and strength are essential.
You need to give yourself plenty of time to recover before returning to court. Recovery also involves strengthening the muscles that surround the ankle and foot. Proprioceptive exercises help you regain your equilibrium and muscle coordination. Before beginning any rehabilitation program, check with your doctor.
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