The chronic foot injury 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 he sustained back in 2005.

At the end of May 2022, Rafael Nadal’s favorite Grand Slam event is scheduled to start – the French Open.

It comes as a shock when Nadal doesn’t win at Roland Garros given his dominance on clay and only 13 titles on the hard stuff.

However, since winning his first Grand Slam there in 2005, Nadal has suffered from a chronic foot injury – an injury that nearly ended his storied career.

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

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Rafael Nadal foot injury

At the Rome Masters, which traditionally served as a warm-up for the French Open in May/June, Nadal lost to Denis Shapovalov 6-1, 5-7, 2-6 in the round of 16.

Despite winning the opening set, the great Spaniard suffered a flare-up of the injury that has plagued him for most of his career.

In fact, last year Nadal was sidelined for six months due to the problem in his foot – he returned to win a mammoth duel against Danill Medvedev in the 2022 Australian Open final to eclipse Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic and move up to 21st place title to rise.

During the 2005 Madrid Masters, Rafael Nadal showed the first signs of a foot injury.

After tests on his left foot, Nadal was eventually diagnosed with Müller-Weiss Syndrome – something he’s been coping with ever since.

How it affects Nadal

Rafael Nadal’s foot injury can cause chronic pain, with Müller-Weiss syndrome affecting the navicular bone.

As one of the most important bones in the human foot, it aids in the biomechanics and movement of the limb.

For tennis players like Nadal, the navicular bone is essential to help them move around the court.

Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP via Getty Images

Müller-Weiss Syndrome affects this bone – and led to Rafael Nadal’s foot injury.

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

For Nadal, repeated stress and almost 20 years at the highest level of tennis have meant the injury has worsened.

Although he hobbled through the duel against Shapovalov, Nadal still hopes to compete at the French Open to claim his 14th title there.

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