Rotator Cuff Injuries in Volleyball Players

Though the overall injury rate in volleyball is lower compared to other team sports, research has shown that volleyball players are at a high risk for overuse-related conditions, such as those of the shoulder which account for 8 to 20 percent of all volleyball injuries.

Your rotator cuff is comprised of muscles and tendons in your shoulder.  These connect your upper arm bone with your shoulder blade and also help hold the ball of your upper arm bone firmly in your shoulder socket.

Injuries to the rotator cuff are most commonly discovered after having pain symptoms. They can include any type of irritation or damage to rotator cuff muscles or tendons, taking place in forms like tendinitis, bursitis or strains and tears. These injuries are more common in volleyball as rotator cuff damage can be caused by repetitive arm activities, especially those done overhead such as spiking or serving.

Approximately half of rotator cuff injuries will heal with self-care measures or exercise therapy. Other treatments may include steroid injections, surgery or arthroplasty.

You can help prevent rotator cuff injuries by doing daily shoulder exercises and resting your shoulder regularly, especially during the volleyball season. If you experience any shoulder pain or inflammation, apply cold packs and heat pads, and take precautions as necessary.

Reference: Mayo Clinic; “Rotator cuff injury”; August 21, 2010;

Reference: National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine; “Strategies for the prevention of volleyball related injuries”; July 2006;