Nadal and foot pain.  Here is what he has and in what condition his scaphoid is

The Spaniard has Müller-Weiss syndrome, a very rare degenerative disease that leads to scaphoid fragmentation and necrosis

The rumors about the withdrawal of Rafael Nadal he denied them himself: “I have a lot of energy, I want to continue,” he said after his victory at Roland Garros. But the conditions of the his left foot scaphoid worry. The Spanish champion is affected by a very rare and degenerative disease, which usually affects mostly women over 40. For this reason the tennis player’s case is very particular, because he would not be in the target of this pathology which is called Müller-Weiss syndrome. Nadal has been battling with foot problems for a long time now, ever since he got injured in 2005discovering that he has one congenital malformation of the bone.

Even then the doctors told Nadal that he could be forced to retire due to that problem, but he, thanks to the use of a special insole for the left shoe, has managed to go on for all these years and to win like very few others in the history of tennis, that is as his friend Roger Federer and as Novak Djokovic: they are the three of them in the running for the title of The GOAT in tennis (The Greatest of all Times, the greatest of all time). Let’s try to understand better what is Müller-Weiss syndrome referring to the words of Dr. Umberto Alfieri MontrasioHead of the Foot and Ankle Specialist Unit of the IRCSS Galeazzi Orthopedic Institute of Milan, who explained it to Official Active after Nadal’s departure from the International in Rome.

Rafael Nadal, retirement for Müller-Weiss syndrome?

As Dr. Umberto Alfieri Montrasio explained to us, it is a “pathology so rare that even the literature is very scarce. Sometimes it is even mistaken for a fracture“. In fact, in the scientific literature many publications are” case reports or case histories of a few patients (4-5); among the best known is a study from the 1950s with 56 cases and two studies by Maceira “. And what little is known, as we have said, is that the sex most affected is female, with an incidence of 70% and the average age of onset of the syndrome is around 45 years, more generally between 40 and 60 years. Nadal, on the other hand, who has just turned 36, has practically been fighting us since he was 20. And it’s a real miracle that he has been able to go on for so long. This pathology, in fact, “is characterized by fragmentation and necrosis of the tarsal or navicular scaphoid which over the years leads to a arthritic process of those joints that rotate around the scaphoid itself “.

What is wrong with Nadal on his foot?

It is therefore it scaphoid to give problems to Nadal, that is what is also improperly called “navicular bone of the carpus”. It is a bone that resembles the shape of a ship’s hull, a short carpal bone with an elongated shape and with the major axis directed laterally and downwards. When a foot is affected by Müller-Weiss syndrome, as Dr. Umberto Alfieri Montrasio explained to us, “there is a significant slowdown in the scaphoid maturation process. In the long run. the scaphoid, subjected to stress, loses its elasticity and it fragments, collapses, dislocates “.

In what condition is Nadal’s scaphoid

Rafael Nadal’s foot is now battered by years of suffering. He has always had this malformation, but he only noticed it in 2005, after an injury, because, as the orthopedist explains, this pathology is very subtle and at first it does not give any symptoms, when pain and difficulty in movement arrive, it is in fact already too late. Dr. Umberto Alfieri Montrasio also explained to us that the syndrome is sometimes accompanied by “a bump on the inside of the midfoot. Usually, patients with Müller-Weiss have hollow feet, but this bump on the inside of the midfoot simulates a foot. flat “, but this symptom also appears when it is too late. Furthermore, in the few cases that could be studied, an association between the Müller-Weiss syndrome and the pain in the kneesanother sore point of Nadal.

A new foot

When Nadal was asked if he would give up the final of Roland Garros 2022 in exchange for a new scaphoid he replied without delay yes, because his foot also gives him problems in everyday life, not only when he plays tennis. and also explained that after retirement he would like to continue playing sports with friends at an amateur level. But Dr. Alfieri Montrasio specified that even for amateur sportsmen, the Müller-Weiss syndrome causes important limitations, that an orthosis is essential, a suitable shoe and that even if you can walk, swim, cycle instead it is better to avoid sports such as tennis, basketball, volleyball or rugby because they cause repeated foot trauma. And even running “can only be done if it is mild, since it stresses the foot a lot. And the more this small but fundamental part of the body is traumatized, the more the chances of the scaphoid fragmenting or dislocating increase“.



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