Chronic ankle instability: Why Beckham’s MLS career is in jeopardy

Beckham’s ankle rolls over in the Estonia match and he limps off in pain. He is diagnosed as having strained his internal lateral ligament. This took place on June 6th. He again aggravates it on June 17th playing against Real Mallorca in the last Liga game and had to leave the game in the 66th minute. Beckham said he heard his ankle ‘snap.’ On the flight over from London to LA, the ankle again became boggy and painful.
He is now doubtful in his debut game on Saturday against Chelsea and may make a last minute appearance towards the end.
If I were a betting man I would be very, very worried. What Beckham may have is chronic ankle instability where the ankle gives way on the outside. Symptoms include:
* A repeated turning of the ankle, especially on uneven surfaces or when participating in sports
* Persistent discomfort and swelling
* Pain or tenderness
What causes it?
“Chronic ankle instability usually develops following an ankle sprain that has not adequately healed or was not rehabilitated completely. When you sprain your ankle, the connective ligaments are stretched or torn. The ability to balance is often affected. Proper rehabilitation is needed to strengthen the muscles around the ankle. Repeated ankle sprains often cause and perpetuate chronic ankle instability.Having an ankle that gives way increases your chances of spraining your ankle repeatedly. Each subsequent sprain leads to further weakening and stretching of the ligaments resulting in greater instability and the likelihood of developing additional problems in the ankle.”
Chronic ankle instability is notoriously difficult to treat.It appears Beckham’s ankle is in need of extensive rehabilitation. Otherwise, his MLS career maybe limited to cameo appearances which still means that he could remain productive. After all it takes just seconds to put a ball into the back of the net from a spot kick.
Unfortunately, unlike Morten Anderson who can trot in and out to kick a field goal in American football, soccer does not afford Beckham the same luxury. It also appears that Beckham will be flying back and forth from LA to Europe a lot to make his appearances for the English squad that now desperately needs his services to qualify for the 2008 Euro. Hardly what the doctor ordered to heal that ankle.

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2 comments on “Chronic ankle instability: Why Beckham’s MLS career is in jeopardy
  1. You once told us of an injury you once had, either it had to do with the ankle or the knee. Do you mind telling us how you are familiar with this condition?
    The MLS Allstar/Celtic game was only on ESPN2; unbelievable that a pregame hour special “David Beckham: The American Dream” is before tomorrow’s Galaxy/Blues matchup; so Beckham has all of Saturday night as his debut on ESPN itself. Pretty sharp. He hurt his ankle playing his heart out, he can do heavy running, I vaguely saw today, versus what 21 year olds even do, something like 9 miles straight if not sprinting. We will see how this transpires. Everyone rolls an ankle at one time or another; and yes, it takes time to heal you betcha speaking from experience.

  2. Tom,
    Good memory. Yes, I tore my ACL in my right knee and needed surgery. They replaced it with a graft and then I had to undergo about 2 months od physical therapy. I would say it is about 70% recovered and I am not an athlete.
    Beckham is in a situation where that ankle can cause major problems because of the number of MLS games that he has to play and also Euro. It will be difficult for that ankle to recover with such little time to rest.

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