10 Jul Volleyball Ankle Injury Prevention
If you play volleyball, you are probably going to sprain one or both of your ankles. Maybe it will be from chasing down a chaotic out of system ball, or perhaps from a foot-on-foot collision under the net. We can’t always prevent these awkward on-court moments, but can the use of ankle braces reduce the number and severity of ankle injuries?
As a pediatric and sports medicine specialist who works with the USA Volleyball National Teams, ankle braces are a big part of the prevention conversation with players of all ages. I hear from parents of younger players, “Should my child use ankle braces so they don’t get their first sprain?” Ideally, volleyball players (or any athlete for that matter) would never suffer that first ankle injury. Once an ankle is sprained, it becomes easier to get future injuries that may last longer and cause greater damage to the ankle joint. Studies and experience show that ankle braces can reduce that first-time injury.
Part of that toolbox?If you want to get the best prevention package, then combining ankle braces with a proper strengthening program is by far your best bet. A well-designed strengthening program creates stronger hips and upper legs that create better alignment with take-off and landing techniques for attacking and blocking. The results can lead to less awkward landings and less rolling in of ankles. Stronger hips and upper legs can also reduce knee injuries and may even increase jumping strength and endurance. Running this combination can help dispel two of the biggest fears about using ankle braces.
Some believe that wearing braces creates “weaker” ankles. A solid strength program counters this argument (and there is no credible evidence linking braces and weak ankles). Others contend that wearing ankle braces places abnormal stressors on the knees. Again, there is no solid evidence that support this, and strength work can give the added benefit of reducing knee injuries.
If this conversation has peaked your interest or you want to learn other injury prevention strategies for volleyball, contact ActiveKidMD to get the same care as the USA Volleyball National Team members!
For more information on ankle braces in volleyball, read my July, 2019 blog post on Volleyballmag.com
“The biggest debate in volleyball- should we brace ankles, should we tape ankles?
We tend to lean towards favoring these but most important is a good ankle strengthening program. If you learn to land properly with the right technique and the right strength, you will reduce your risk of ankle injuries.”
Video on use of ankle braces in volleyball: