Rafael Nadal: The athlete is going through a real ordeal because of a rare and incurable degenerative disease which could prevent him from winning Roland-Garros!

“Honestly, I’m in a lot more pain than I should with my foot and I need to take some time off”said Rafael Nadal last summer on social networks, indicating in passing that he was ending his season.

His foot injury, which he has dragged on for sixteen years, is due to Muller-Weiss syndrome, a degenerative disease, which is materialized by a deformation of one of the bones located in the central part of the foot. In this case, his left foot. It appeared for the first time in 2005. It is a very rare pathology that mainly affects women aged 40 to 60, and above all requires rest and the use of orthopedic insoles. “In the end, I come to the conclusion that what I need is time to recover, to change a series of things, to try to understand what has been the evolution of my feet lately”explained the Spanish star.

A foot injury not compatible with high-level sport?

Gilbert Versier, former head of the orthopedic surgery department at the Vincennes military hospital, gave more details on this subject to our colleagues from The Team. “It usually affects people who have flat feet. It’s congenital. Some have hollow feet: the arch, that is to say the distance between the internal part of the foot and the ground, is very dug. Others have completely collapsed arches with a valgus foot which favors this kind of pathology. This causes a compression of the navicular bone which necroses. It is the death of the bone, it is not eaten away, it has lost its vascularization It tends to condense, to flatten a little (but it does not disappear) between the talus, that is to say the astragalus, and the cuneiform, the bone which is just before the metatarsal. All this happens on the column of the big toe, where we have the maximum support”.

The specialist added: “His insoles have to be redone at least two or three times a year. But anything surgical, resection (removal) of part of the bone or grafting by taking bone from the pelvis to block the joint at the level of the foot and remove the pain, no longer allows the practice of sport at a high level”.

A different story for the principal concerned. “It’s time to look for a slightly different type of treatment. I’m ready to do what it takes to continue to be competitive. I’m convinced that with rest and a very strong daily effort, I can do it. I will work as hard as I can to achieve this.” he confided to theAFP.

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Adam Javal-Fauconnier

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