As a volleyball enthusiast, you know very well how ankle injuries can be devastating. Even if it's not uncommon to have more than one sprain during your career, you can still get frustrated. Running, jumping on uneven surfaces, or a bad landing can result in injury. What's worse is that this split-second damage might end a game or cause a huge blockage to your career in the long run.
Nobody wants that to happen, especially if it's something you love doing. Hence, you need a complete and solid volleyball ankle support system that will help minimize the risk of injuries. It is also good for people looking to prevent future damage because it will provide long-term protection.
In this article, you'll learn about building a good support system for a volleyball athlete's ankles. We'll start with the factors triggering an injury then proceed with proper training and solutions.
How an Ankle Injury Occurs in Volleyball
The ankle is a weight-bearing joint and is subjected to stress when playing volleyball. It's constantly used in different directions, so the ligaments are put under much tension. It's easy to see how an ankle injury can occur when you add jumping, landing, and running on an uneven surface into the mix.
Most volleyball ankle sprains and other injuries are caused by:
- Jumping and ended up landing on another player’s foot
- Supination (landing when weight is pressed the outside part of the foot)
These incidents overwhelm the stabilizing muscles of your ankles, resulting in damage.
Build Your Long-Term Ankle Support System: Physical Training and Ankle Braces
Building a good volleyball support system for ankles starts with physical training. You can engage in activities that strengthen your ankles and other stabilizing muscles to help you recover faster or prevent ankle injuries.
However, it doesn't stop there; you need something else to protect them while recovering. This is where volleyball ankle braces come into play. Let's discuss these points as we build your ultimate ankle solution.
Most athletes, including volleyball players and (usually) runners, swear by barefoot training for supporting your ankles. This is because when you're not wearing any shoes, the lack of cushioning trains your feet and ankles to become stronger.
The muscles need a lot of strength to stabilize the joint, making your ankle stronger over time. Moreover, barefoot training promotes less strain and shock on the body, contrary to what you might think about it at first.
Aside from training, many coaches also encourage barefoot warm-ups. They're a great way to prepare your feet and ankles for the training session or game. It warms up the muscles and tendons around the ankle, so it's less susceptible to injuries. Some examples are jogging, stretching, doing hand walks, or jumping in place.
As mentioned, being barefoot helps develop foot strength stronger than wearing shoes. While shoes can protect your ankles, they may also hinder the potential strength your feet can acquire. With barefoot warm-ups, you'll get a good sense of awareness and understanding about your body's movements, patterns, and positioning.
Force Absorption and Landing Techniques With Plyometrics
Volleyball exercises involving plyometrics help build ankle strength and prevent ankle injuries by learning force absorption and proper landing. Unfortunately, your inability to do them right is a common cause of ankle injuries.
For example, landing and suddenly changing direction or overcoming surfaces with huge gaps can damage your ankle joint and eventually lead to injury.
With plyometric exercises, you'll get better at external force absorption and learn to land safely and properly. So when your body needs to slow down the movement or get in position, you can decelerate force without any problems.
Stability exercises are another great way to prevent injuries. These are activities that strengthen the muscles around your ankle joints. Consequently, you'll be able to control different positions well with minimal support.
There is a wide range of volleyball stability exercises. They typically involve balancing on one leg or using common equipment to limit the surface area where you can try balancing. Some examples include Bosu ball exercises and single-leg deadlifts.
Proper Sleep and Diet
Your support system is incomplete without two of the most important aspects of overall health: sleep and diet. Eight to ten hours of sleep helps your body recover from the demands of physical activity fast. It also allows you to focus better and have a longer attention span.
As for your diet, you should consume foods rich in protein (e.g., meat and dairy products). Talk to your health expert and seek help making a healthy diet to support your ankle recovery and prevention.
Wearing Volleyball Ankle Braces
An injury can sideline you from the game for weeks or months at a time. That's why volleyball players must invest in ankle braces that provide stability and protection against potential damage. However, there are important things for you to know about these solutions to set your expectations right.
The Truth About Ankle Braces
Let's set the record straight. What do ankle braces help you with? According to various experts, these braces effectively prevent or relieve ankle injuries. In addition, they also advised that these are more effective for athletes with fewer histories of injury.
What to Look For in Ankle Braces
Here are some general factors to look for when buying ankle braces for your support system.
- Doesn't restrict your movements
- Anti-bacterial or hypoallergenic
- Type (sleeves, air pockets, or pads)
- Purpose (prevention, support, or ankle recovery)
Hit, Jump, and Land With Safety in Mind
To build an effective ankle-supporting system for volleyball, you need to focus on equipment, health practices, and proper training. All of these will help you hit the ball, jump, and land properly and safely. Moreover, you can protect yourself from an injury that only takes a split second but can cost you long-term damage.
For more information on ankle supports, like maintenance and use, feel free to navigate through our website.