Sports Physiotherapy for Beach Volleyball

Summer’s arrival inspires an urge to feel the sand beneath your feet, taking away the winter chill and warming your toes into complete contentment. Some people prefer to lie in the sand and basque in the sun. Others enjoy a lively and rambunctious game of beach volleyball.

What Is Beach Volleyball?

The Australian Institute of Sport describes beach volleyball as a sport played between two teams of two players on a sand court divided by a net. This barefoot outdoor sport takes place in a beach setting. Whilst beautiful, the lovely surrounding might distract you and make you vulnerable to injury.

Biomechanical Requirements

Beach volleyball players must have maximum control of the ball, as well as phenomenal skill and speed. Unlike indoor volleyball games, which usually feature six players, the two-person time most cover greater distances, often in harsher, unpredictable weather conditions. In beach volleyball, the sand, sun and wind are also formidable opponents.

Beach Volleyball Benefits

Unlike other sports that require special, often expensive athletic shoes, beach volleyball only uses the stuff that Mother Nature gave you – your own two feet. This is both the good news and the bad news. Let’s start with the good news:

  • Playing barefoot in the sand enhances your proprioception, which is your body’s awareness of its position in space. Since decreased proprioception is associated with ankle sprains, enhanced spatial and body position awareness might prevent future sprains and other types of injuries.
  • The sand offers added resistance, which improves the muscle toning and cardiovascular benefits of the workout.

Now for the bad news:

  • If you have had untreated ankle injuries in the past, you might already have limited proprioception. Without the support of proper footwear, this might lead to sprained ankles.
  • If you are significantly overweight, the ground reaction forces caused by the jump serve might cause minor stress fractures.
  • If you have a herniated disc or other back problems, the lack of shock absorption might exacerbate it. This is speculation, however, because the switch from hard ground to sand might mitigate the consequences of working without shoes.

Common Injuries

Beach volleyball and indoor volleyball share many of the same injuries. Whilst most of them are not serious, left ignored, they might worsen and exacerbate. Your physiotherapist at Happy Physio can easily treat most beach and indoor volleyball injuries.

The most common volleyball injuries include:

  • Patellar Tendinitis: Also known as jumpers knee, patellar tendinitis is a common volleyball overuse injury. Physiotherapy can help!
  • Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy: Your rotator cuff muscles control shoulder rotation. Comprised of the infraspinatus, teres minor and supraspinatus muscles, these muscles suffer great strain during sports that require you to keep your arms above your head for extended time frames. An acute, sharp pain might indicate a ruptured tendon, while gradual onset might hint at inflammation. Don’t, however, wait until the inflammation worsens. See your physiotherapist as soon as possible. Busitis, often caused by overuse, is another common volleyball injury.
  • Hand Injuries: A hand injury might occur whilst attempting to block  a spiked ball. Sprains and strains are most the most common hand injuries, followed by fractures and contusions and dislocations.
  • Ankle Sprains: Jumping up for a block and landing with full-out intensity sometimes triggers a sprained ankle. Sprains might occur in the  talo-fibula ligament or the calcanao-fibula ligament. Serious ankle injuries might also damage your ankle tendons.

Enjoy the beach, enjoy your game, and never leave injuries untreated! Sports Physiotherapy at Happy Physio can help! Call us now at (08) 9272 7359! 🙂