A rare disease that forces Rafael Nadal to act under anesthesia – 06/06/2022

The Spanish tennis player managed to win at Roland Garros despite a chronic pain in his left foot. Understand what this problem is and how Nadal acted despite the frame

“It’s clear that I can’t continue to play in my current situation.”

One of Rafael Nadal’s strongest statements was that after winning the Roland Garros championship on Sunday, he managed to get the win in that tournament, despite playing with his feet completely anesthetized.

The 36-year-old Spanish tennis player received several injections in the competition, where he won his 22nd Grand Slam title.

However, he said he does not want to continue playing if he continues to need an anesthetist to relieve the pain he feels from a chronic left foot problem.

But what exactly does Nadal have at his feet and how can he fix it?

Mueller-Weiss syndrome

The 14-time Roland Garros champion has a condition called Mueller-Weiss Syndrome.

The degenerative condition affecting one of the shoe bones is rare, which explains why they were seen lame at the Rome Masters (formerly known as the Italian Open) 10 days before the start of Roland Garros.

The syndrome affects the navicular bone (also called the tarsal scaphoid of the foot), a small bone that forms part of the tarsus and has 6 faces.

This bone is subjected to various pressures and, for unknown reasons, loses its vascularity – that is, blood flow – which causes episodes of necrosis that weaken the bone.

In the most severe cases and “in people who put a lot of pressure on the foot, the bone can disintegrate, flatten, split and become osteoarthritis,” said Didier Mainard, president of the French Association of Foot Surgery and Director of Surgery. , an orthopedist at Hopital Nancy in France told AFP.

In short, the problem erodes the bone and causes a lot of pain in the back of the foot.

The syndrome can affect one or both feet, and generally affects more women than men in their 40s and 60s.

a long-term problem

Nadal began to show his first symptoms in 2005, at the Madrid Masters Championships, and then, after several tests, was diagnosed with the syndrome and has been suffering from it ever since.

“I’ve been playing injections to cut my foot and that’s why I’ve been able to play these two weeks,” Nadal said on Sunday after a 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 win over Norwegian Casper Ruud.

“I don’t have any tenderness in my shoes because my doctor was able to put anesthetic injections in my nerves. It eliminates the sensation in my shoes.”

He added: “If my body is ready to be at Wimbledon, I’ll be at Wimbledon. That’s all. Wimbledon is not a tournament I want to lose. I don’t think anyone wants to lose at Wimbledon. I love Wimbledon.”

“Am I able to play with anti-inflammatory drugs? Yes. Play with anesthetic injections, no. I don’t want to put myself in that position again.”


Treatment depends largely on the patient and the degree of disease progression.

In mild cases, resting as well as using orthopedic soles can help relieve pain.

Treatments with anti-inflammatory drugs or infiltrates are also used, and when the condition is very advanced and there are signs of bone breakdown, surgery is necessary.

Nadal said he will soon receive radiofrequency ablation – a therapy that uses heat from the nerve – but will have to consider surgery if treatment is not enough.

“If it works, I’ll move on. But if it doesn’t, that’s another story,” he said Sunday.

According to the tennis player, he must now examine whether he is ready to perform a major operation that does not guarantee that he will be able to compete again.

injections as Nadal’s ‘only chance’ to play in Paris

Last year, Nadal feared that his career was coming to an end and that he would have to interrupt last season, losing Wimbledon and the US Open to tackle the problem.

A rib fracture was missed two months into the season following his 21st win at the Australian Open.

“As everyone in the tennis world knows, my training wasn’t perfect, but Roland Garros is Roland Garros. Everyone knows how much this tournament means to me, so I wanted to keep trying,” he said.

Speaking on the court, Nadal said he never thought he would compete at the highest level at his age.

“I never believed I would be here at the age of 36, playing in a final again on the most important court of my career,” he added.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, but I’m going to keep trying to keep going.”

“What Nades Achieves Is Superhuman”

Two days after his 36th birthday, Nadal won his second major title since 2010, when he won the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open.

“It was amazing to start the year with the Australian Open and the French Open,” said former British prime minister Greg Rusedski, who was working as an analyst for BBC Radio 5 Live in Sunday’s final.

“Anything over my age was a bonus time for anything over 30 and it was quite a feat if you got a Slam over 30. Now it seems common for Nadal. [Roger] Federer and [Novak] Djokovic “.

“When we saw Nadal enter the scene in 2005, when he won for the first time, most of us thought he would retire at the age of 27 or 28. With his physique playing. We didn’t think he would be able to achieve what he achieved. What he has achieved is superhuman.”

“We’ll never see anyone in our lives get it done on a clay track. It’s not possible.

Leave a Comment