As the school year begins, so does the sports season! As many male athletes put on their cleats and their helmets and head to the football field, female athletes put on their knee pads and hit the net! Volleyball season is here! Whenever you play a sport, you are at risk of injury. Many of us know how to take care of an injury when it is already present using the acronym R.I.C.E (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation), but few of us know how to keep our muscles healthy and prevent injury. Below are 3 common volleyball injuries and how to prevent them.
1. ANKLE SPRAINS
A sprain is the excessive tearing and stretching of the ligaments. The most common ankle sprain is in the talo-fibula ligament. Sprains occur when a volleyball player lands wrong from a jump, or twists the ankle. Ankle sprain symptoms include: muscle pain to moderate to extreme degrees, muscle stiffness, and moderate to extreme swelling. To prevent ankle sprain, stretch the ankle before and after exercise to ensure the muscles have loosened and are relieved from stress. If injury does occur, wrap your ankle, and limit physical activity. Use the R.I.C.E. method. When using R.I.C.E., rest your injury on an elevated surface (pillow) and switch between 15 minutes of ice and 15 minutes of compression, by bandaging the injury to reduce swelling.
2. ROTATOR CUFF
The rotator cuff muscle is found in the shoulder and controls the shoulder inward motion. An athlete may feel a sudden sharp pain or sudden pinch in the shoulder. This injury occurs when a player does an overhead motion such as serve or spikes the ball, or aggressively throws a ball. Symptoms of this injury include: pain where you bend your arm or turn the arm inward or outward, stiffness around the shoulder, and extreme pain especially at night. Preventing this type of injury involves the overhead stretch where you bend your arm behind your head and gently push with the other hand with gravity. Another stretching technique is to put your arm across your body and pull towards the same direction. If injury occurs, rest and ice the shoulder for 2 to 4 days, and apply heat. Rehabilitation and surgery may be needed depending on the severity of the injury.
3. JUMPERS KNEE
When jumper’s knee occurs, the patella tendon is affected. The patella tendon connects the kneecap to the tibia bone. Symptoms of this injury include, pain at the bottom of the kneecap when applying pressure, aching and stiffness after exercising, and pain when the quadriceps muscles are contacted. When injury is basic and first occurs, continue training but stop after every hour to apply ice to injury. Wear a heat bandage or support band. If injury progresses it can be long term rehabilitation up to 3 months.
There you have it. Three top volleyball injuries and how to prevent them. As mentioned before stretching can alleviate a lot of pain and also prevent it as well. Another good rule of thumb for athletes is to make better eating choices to ensure you are getting the required vitamins and nutrients. The number 1 thing to remember, however, is to DRINK WATER! Drink at least half your body weight in your water. If you way 100 lbs., you should at minimum consume about 50 0z of water.
What are some ways you prevent injuries, treat injuries, and drink more water, to make healthier life choices? Comment below!
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