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Hands off: Stopping common handball injuries

From head to toe, learn about the most common handball injuries and how to avoid them from experts at HCA Florida Healthcare.

November 27, 2023

Though it hasn’t quite caught on throughout the United States, handball is a wildly popular sport in Europe. Most Americans get their taste of the sport every four years during the Olympics, but they’ll also have a chance to watch the best in the world take the court with the Women’s World Handball Championship in Scandinavia in November. 

“Handball is a sport that requires a lot of athleticism, skill and coordination,” says Dr. Vani Sabesan, orthopedic surgeon with HCA Florida Healthcare. “While there is an inherent risk of injury in sports like handball, players can take steps to prevent injury and maximize their time on the court.”

If you’re ready to get in on the action, learn how to stay safe on the court with tips from experts at HCA Florida Healthcare.  

Understand common handball injuries

With such a fast pace of play, handball athletes are prone to a variety of injuries. 

Ankle injuries

Ankle sprains are among the most common handball injuries. Like knee injuries, ankle sprains often happen when athletes make sharp cuts, stop suddenly, jump or turn. When the ankle rolls, the ligaments of the ankle, which normally help stabilize the joint, are stretched or torn.

Back injuries

Lower back pain can be caused by overextension, herniated disks or muscle strain and is extremely common among handball players. 

Contact injuries

Players can sustain contact injuries when they are hit by other athletes. These injuries can include broken bones, torn ligaments and concussions. 

Knee injuries

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), medial collateral ligament (MCL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) and lateral collateral ligament (LCL) injuries are common in sports like handball where players make sharp cuts when running. Minor sprains can sideline players for a few weeks while tears can be season-ending. 


An overuse injury, osteoarthritis is caused by repeated stress on joints that leads to a breakdown in cartilage, inflammation and pain. For handball players, these joints can include elbows from repetitive throwing and knees from running and cutting. 

Know how to prevent handball injuries

While not all handball injuries can be avoided, players can stay safe from injury by following these tips:

  • Follow proper form. Repetitive motions, including passing or throwing in handball, can lead to overuse injuries. Make sure to follow a good throwing and running form to avoid inflammation, soreness and tears. 
  • Maintain your strength. Building up muscle strength, especially lower body strength, can help prevent many common handball injuries such as knee ligament strains. Incorporate activities to improve balance and coordination. And make sure to keep up your strength training in the offseason.   
  • Warm up before play. Take time for a proper warmup before practices and matches. Cool down after playing to prevent sore muscles. 
  • Wear proper equipment. Athletes can lower their risk of injury by wearing protective equipment such as mouth guards, ankle braces and knee protection. 

Don’t throw your health away 

Even the best handball players are prone to accidents or injury. If injury is keeping you off the court, our specialists are ready with a wide range of orthopedic services to help you feel like yourself again.

Call (844) 671-4206 to get connected with an orthopedic doctor and find the care you need.

November 27, 2023

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