After winning his fourteenth Roland Garros, Grand Slam number 22 throughout his career, Rafa Nadal explained that in Paris he had to play with his foot numb, asleep, so as not to feel the pain caused by the chronic injury he suffers in the left foot, the so-called Müller-Weiss syndrome, also known as scaphoid osteochondritis. “I am playing without pain, but also with zero sensation. Like when you go to the dentist or have something operated on: foot, no sensitivity, no sensation. That’s why I was able to play, a very simple explanation”, stated the Balearic when referring to the ‘remedy’ that has allowed him to endure the severe discomfort caused by a degenerative injury that has no cure.

The champion of Roland Garros

He also explained his roadmap to try to continue competing, something that raised doubts during his participation in the Parisian tournament. «We are going to do a treatment that consists of an intervention in the two nerves. This is something that has worked well for me and has already taken my pain away in the past. They are pulsed radiofrequency injections that could help me reduce the sensation I have in my foot. Let’s see if with this treatment we can leave the nerve half asleep, “explained Rafa.

What are radiofrequency injections that can help Nadal and how do they work? Radiofrequency is a simple medical procedure performed in the operating room in which special needles are used to injure with heat or alter certain nerve points with electrical pulses to block the transmission of nerve pain signals. The passage of electrical current through the tip of the needle causes an electrical burn that causes the destruction of the nerves that transmit pain. There are two types of treatments with radiofrequency injections: conventional or pulsed radiofrequency.

Conventional radiofrequency (RF), also called thermal, is a neuroablative technique that causes heat injury. It uses low-energy current with high frequencies (500,000 Hz) at 80 degrees and causes interruption of transmission in pain pathways.

Pulsed radiofrequency is a non-neuroablative neuromodulatory technique (PFR) that does not produce nerve destruction or residual neuritis. The RFP interrupts current periodically (pulses) to control temperature and remove heat in the tissue. The maximum temperature reached is 40-42 degrees centigrade in a time of 20 seconds.