Understanding Volleyball related injuries

Dr. David Woznica ProlotherapistDavid Woznica, MD

In this article we will discuss chronic injuries that result in time away from training and match and how non-surgical treatments can help the volleyball player get back to the game.

Before you read this article, do you have questions about your volleyball related chronic injury? Get help and information from our Caring Medical staff.

Writing in the medical journal Sports Health, researchers from Harvard, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and the University of North Carolina reported on injuries sustained by college level volleyball players. Their focus, the difference in injury in men and women.

What was expected to be found was the high incidence of ankle and knee injury. What was surprising was the high level of concussion.

The researchers looked at medical records from injured volleyball players from the 2013-2014 through 2014-2015 academic years. They were looking for among other things, injuries that caused Time-Loss (Unable to participate injuries) and Non-Time-Loss injuries (Able to participate)

Injury rates:

The researchers concluded that there are differences in injury patterns and rates between male and female intercollegiate volleyball players. Although a limited-contact sport, a notable number of concussions were sustained, mostly from ball contact.1

Please see these articles as they relate to concussion and post-concussion syndromes:

The degenerative state of the knees of volleyball players

German researchers give a very detailed analysis of knee derangements in adolescent and adult volleyball players in the Journal of experimental orthopaedics. Brief highlights of their research is presented here.

  • Cartilage lesions were present in 56% of the adult volleyball athletes at baseline and follow-up. This was considered high.
    • One reason? “One reason for this may be that 44% of the adults in our study had undergone prior knee surgery, which increased their risk of cartilage lesions. However, they were still able to participate in a high level of volleyball.”
    • Men had a higher risk of bone spurs at the tibiofemoral joint (the joint space between the femur (upper leg bone) and the tibia (the larger of the two shin bones.) A reason female players are less likely to have bone spurs lies with the greater knee valgus  (Q angle) that decreases stress on the tibiofemoral joint.
    • The beginnings of knee osteoarthritis were found in osteophytes found in 39% at baseline and 56% at follow up in  adolescents.
    • Several of the volleyball athletes demonstrated subarticular bone marrow lesions, which consist of focal signals of abnormality in the subchondral bone marrow and are believed to be caused by capillary leakage caused by trauma, lesions, or increased intravascular pressure due to either increased blood flow to or decreased venous clearance of the marrow space. This is in simple words is knee joint degeneration reaching deep levels.
      • Previous studies have found subarticular bone marrow lesions in asymptomatic athletes.
    • Subarticular cysts were found in 11% of adolescent and 28% of adult volleyball players at both baseline and follow up.
      • Previous studies have found subarticular bone marrow lesions in asymptomatic athletes.
    • Meniscal lesions were found in 28% of the adolescents at baseline and follow up, and in 56 and 61% of the adults at baseline and follow up, respectively.

Problems of the shoulder

Doctors from the Office of Research Integrity and Protections, Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation writing in the PM & R : the journal of injury, function, and rehabilitation examined competitors at the 2006 National Intramural & Recreational Sports Association Collegiate Club Volleyball Championship. A total of 422 athletes returned questionnaires, of whom 276 also underwent a structured physical

Do you have questions about your volleyball related chronic injury? Get help and information from our Caring Medical staff.

1 Baugh CM, Weintraub GS, Gregory AJ, Djoko A, Dompier TP, Kerr ZY. Descriptive Epidemiology of Injuries Sustained in National Collegiate Athletic Association Men’s and Women’s Volleyball, 2013-2014 to 2014-2015. Sports Health. 2017 Oct 6:1941738117733685.

2 Boeth H, MacMahon A, Eckstein F, Diederichs G, Schlausch A, Wirth W, Duda GN. MRI findings of knee abnormalities in adolescent and adult volleyball players. Journal of experimental orthopaedics. 2017 Feb 21;4(1):6.

3 Reeser JC, Joy EA, Porucznik CA, Berg RL, Colliver EB, Willick SE. Risk factors for volleyball-related shoulder pain and dysfunction. Pm&r. 2010 Jan 31;2(1):27-36.

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