Landing-related ankle injuries do not occur in plantarflexion as once thought: a systematic video analysis of ankle injuries in world-class volleyball

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Abstract

Background

Ankle injuries are prevalent in elite volleyball and suggested to result from player contact at the net. Traditionally, ankle sprains are thought to happen in a plantarflexed position, but case studies suggest plantarflexion may not be involved.

Aim

Describe the injury situations and mechanisms of ankle injuries in world-class volleyball based on systematic video analysis of injuries reported through the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) Injury Surveillance System.

Methods

Videos of 24 injuries from major FIVB tournaments were included for analysis (14 men, 10 women). Five analysts reviewed the videos to determine specific situations and mechanisms leading to injuries.

Results

The majority of injuries occurred during two volleyball situations, blocking (n=15) and attacking (n=6). Injuries to blockers were the result of landing on an opponent (n=11) or teammate (n=4). Attacking injuries most frequently occurred when a back-row player landed on a front-row teammate (n=4 of 6). When landing on an opponent under the net, the attacker landed into the opponent’s court in 11 of 12 situations but without violating the centre line rule. Injuries mostly resulted from rapid inversion without any substantial plantarflexion.

Conclusions

The majority of injuries occur while blocking, often landing on an opponent. The attacker is overwhelmingly to blame for injuries at the net secondary to crossing the centre line. Injuries while attacking often result from a back-row player landing on a front-row teammate. Landing-related injuries mostly result from rapid inversion with the absence of plantarflexion.

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