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.