Home Injury What type of injuries happen in volleyball and how should you prevent it?

What type of injuries happen in volleyball and how should you prevent it?

by Evan Jeffries DPT

Volleyball is a dynamic sport that combines agility, power, and skill. While it can be immensely rewarding, it also carries the risk of injury due to the physical demands on the body. Volleyball requires an athlete to jump, land, and strike the ball constantly throughout a practice and competition. This puts the athlete at risk for lower extremity injuries primarily and upper extremity injuries secondarily. This blog will explore common injuries in volleyball and discuss preventive measures, including the use of ankle braces, wrist braces, knee braces, and shoulder wraps. 

Common Injuries in Volleyball

In a comprehensive survey of injuries among volleyball players, a study found that the lower limb was the most affected area, followed by the upper limb, trunk and head. In regard to the lower limb the most commonly injured area was the ankle, followed by the knee. The most common injury was a sprain of the joint.1 With that being said, the following are some of the most significant injuries in volleyball.

1. Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries in volleyball. They typically occur when a player lands awkwardly after a jump or when they make a sudden lateral movement, causing the ankle to roll. This can lead to damage to the ligaments around the ankle, resulting in pain, swelling, and difficulty walking.  They can range in severity depending on significance of the sprain.

  • Grade I sprain: Mild sprain (no significant tear of ligaments)
  • Grade II sprain: Moderate sprain (partial tear of ligaments)
  • Grade III sprain: Severe sprain (Full tear of ligaments)

2. Knee Sprains

Volleyball players often put a lot of stress on their knees due to jumping and rapid directional changes.  Knee sprains can happen when the knee is twisted unnaturally or hyperextended. This can cause damage to the ligaments, leading to pain and swelling.  There are four major ligaments of the knee (ACL, MCL, LCL and PCL).  Minor sprains are a stretch of the ligaments without tear.  Grade II-III sprains involve tearing of the ligaments which can lead to surgery and difficulty in healing.

3. Wrist Sprains

Wrist sprains can occur from impact with the ball or from falls. A sprain happens when the ligaments in the wrist are stretched or torn, leading to pain and limited mobility. This injury can affect a player’s ability to set, spike, or block effectively.

4. Shoulder Injuries

The repetitive overhead motions in volleyball, like spiking and serving, can lead to shoulder injuries. These can include strains, sprains, labral injury or even rotator cuff tears. Shoulder injuries can cause pain, reduced range of motion, and decreased strength which will decrease the player’s ability to function at the top of their game.

Preventing Volleyball Injuries

Preventing injuries in volleyball requires a combination of proper training, body conditioning, and the use of supportive equipment. Here are some key strategies for preventing common injuries:

1. Use of Ankle Braces

Ankle braces provide ankle support and stability, reducing the risk of ankle sprains. They help prevent excessive movement and offer protection during high-impact landings. Wearing ankle braces is particularly important for players with a history of ankle injuries.

Zamst offers a variety of ankle braces to meet your needs and preferences.

The A1 ankle braces provide a balance of moderate support and comfort, designed with easy application. The three adjustable straps and internal stabilizers on the sides provide strength and stability without limiting mobility.

The A2-DX ankle braces provide strongest support with a three-way support (Anterior, lateral, and medial) having rigid guards at the sides.

For other ankle brace lineup, explore Zamst ankle collections page.

2. Wearing a Wrist support

Volleyball puts high demand on the wrist joint with setting, digging and spiking. For players prone to wrist injuries, using a wrist brace for a sprain or band can help maintain proper alignment and reduce the risk of re-injury.  Zamst offers the Filmista wrist or wrist band that provide moderate support with maximum comfort Zamst Filmista Wrist

3. Invest in Knee Braces or Knee Support

Knee braces and knee supports can help prevent knee sprains by stabilizing the knee joint during high-stress movements. These braces can also provide additional support for players with existing knee issues, allowing them to play with more confidence.  Zamst offers two styles for volleyball (ZK-Motion and JK-2) which offer support and excellent mobility for moving around on the court. For recovery, the Zamst IW-1 will offer compression with ice to aid healing.

4. Use of Shoulder Wraps or Shoulder Brace

Often times after volleyball practice or game situation the athlete’s shoulder is sore and needs recovery.  Shoulder wraps offer compression and support for the shoulder joint. These devices can help reduce strain and provide aid in recovery and help alleviate pain from overuse. 

5. Focus on Proper Technique and Strength

One of the best ways to prevent injuries is to use proper technique. This includes landing safely from jumps, maintaining correct posture during play, and avoiding unnecessary stress on joints. In training it’s important to work proper technique, strengthening the correct muscles to reduce impact on joints and improve mobility to enhance range of motion

Injuries are a common concern in volleyball, but with the right preventive measures, they can be significantly reduced. Ankle sprains, wrist sprains, knee sprains, and shoulder injuries are all risks, but using ankle braces, wrist bands, knee braces, and shoulder wraps can offer substantial protection. Additionally, focusing on proper technique, muscle strengthening,  and flexibility can help keep volleyball players safe and on top of their game.


EVAN JEFFRIES is a physical therapist with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT) from the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences.  He is also the owner of Evolving Motion Physical Therapy and has vast knowledge of the musculoskeletal system and has treated many orthopedic conditions by bringing a proactive approach to healthcare and lifestyle.  Recently he has also been active on social media as an injury analyst mainly in related to injuries NBA players have sustained.   Evan can be followed on his social media accounts.

1.Migliorini, F., Rath, B., Tingart, M. et al. Injuries among volleyball players: a comprehensive survey of the literature. Sport Sci Health 15, 281–293 (2019). 

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