Tennis: Nadal explains the new treatment that could postpone his retirement

Rafael Nadal spoke about his physical state and his future after winning for the 14th time at Roland Garros, which is also the 22nd Grand Slam of his career.

The Spaniard has been suffering from a chronic foot injury and there have been rumors about an imminent retirement, but he hopes to carry on.

Nadal challenges injury woes to win French Open againPA

“I hope to continue because I’m in a beautiful moment, unexpected at this stage of my career,” he said after the win on Sunday.

“Life is more important than another title. My career has been my priority all my life, but it is not above my happiness.

“If I’m still happy, I’ll continue, if not, I’ll do something else.”

He went on to discuss radiofrequency injections, which use heat on the nerve to quell long-term pain, but admitted he isn’t sure if this will work.

“The injections in the nerves have gone well, now we will do a treatment that consists of an intervention in the two nerves,” Nadal explained.

“This is something that has already worked well for me and that took away the pain in the past.

“It consists of pulsed radiofrequency injections that could help me to reduce the sensation I have in my foot.

“We’ll see if with this treatment we can leave the nerve half asleep and have that sensation that is more permanent, although it leaves me with a foot without so much sensitivity.

“The only way to be able to play was to put the foot to sleep. Doing a remote nerve block with anesthetic injections. The foot is left with zero sensation, no feeling, no sensitivity.”

What does pulsed radiofrequency consist of? What is the treatment like?

The Madrid Pain Clinic defines pulsed radiofrequency as “a treatment for pain caused by irritation or malfunction of a nerve or sensitization of the pain-transmitting system”.

“It is performed in an operating theater under light sedation by an anaesthesiologist pain specialist”.

The method consists of “inserting a special needle under X-ray or ultrasound guidance until it is seated next to the nerve to be treated. Once in position, the tip of the needle is energized using radiofrequency pulses to reset the function of the injured or damaged nerve.

Nadal described in further detail what it means to play with a foot that is half asleep.

“You control it a little less but what is asleep is the sensitive nerve, not the motor nerve, so you have practically complete control of the foot,” he told Cadena Cope.

“In the end you get used to it and the head also helps you to be able to isolate yourself from that and for two weeks I’ve been able to think about tennis and isolate the other issues.

“I cannot continue to compete with the foot asleep, you have to find a solution. I would love to continue competing, so next week I’m going to talk to several doctors and consider various options. I will receive a treatment and I hope it helps me.”

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