The chronic foot injury which Rafael Nadal has suffered from since 2005


Rafael Nadal is the most successful Men’s Tennis player of all-time with 21 grand slams, but his career has been hampered by a chronic foot injury – which he suffered way back in 2005.

At the end of May 2022, Rafael Nadal’s favourite grand slam event is due to start – the French Open.

It is something of a shock when Nadal does not win at Roland Garros, given his dominance on clay and just the 13 titles on the hard stuff.

However, since he won his first grand slam there in 2005, Nadal has been suffering from a chronic foot injury – one that very nearly ended his storied career.

What exactly is Rafael Nadal’s chronic foot injury? Is it treatable?

Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP via Getty Images

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Rafael Nadal foot injury

In the Rome Masters, traditionally used a warm-up to the French Open in May/June, Nadal slumped to a Round of 16 defeat to Denis Shapovalov 6-1, 5-7, 2-6.

Despite taking the opening set, the great Spaniard suffered a flare-up of the injury which has plagued him for the majority of his career.

Indeed, Nadal was forced to take six months out last year due to the problem in his foot – returning to win a mammoth clash against Danill Medvedev in the 2022 Australian Open final to eclipse Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic and move to 21 titles.

It was during the 2005 Madrid Masters when the first signs of a foot injury showed themselves to Rafael Nadal.

After tests on his left foot, Nadal was eventually diagnosed with Mueller-Weiss Syndrome – something he has been managing ever since.

How it affects Nadal

Rafael Nadal’s foot injury can cause chronic pain, with Mueller-Weiss Syndrome affecting the Navicular bone.

One of the most crucial bones in the human foot, it helps with the biomechanics and how the extremity moves.

For Tennis players such as Nadal, the navicular bone is essential in helping them move about the court.

Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP via Getty Images

Mueller-Weiss Syndrome affects this bone – and has led to the foot injury suffered by Rafael Nadal.

Essentially, the syndrome wears the outside of the bone away – with trauma and excessive force over time two key factors.

For Nadal, repeated stress and nearly 20 years at the top level of Tennis has led to the injury getting worse.

Despite limping his way through the tie against Shapovalov, Nadal still hopes to compete in the French Open to try for a 14th title there.

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