Does Rafael Nadal need surgery for foot injury?

22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal says he “doesn’t want to keep playing” if he continues to need anaesthetic injections to numb chronic foot pain.

“I have been playing with injections on the nerves to numb the foot and that’s why I was able to play during these two weeks.

“I have no feelings in my foot, because my doctor was able to put anaesthetic injections on the nerves. That takes out the feeling on my foot.”

 “I’m going to be in Wimbledon if my body is ready to be in Wimbledon. That’s it. Wimbledon is not a tournament that I want to miss. I think nobody wants to miss Wimbledon. I love Wimbledon.

“If I am able to play with anti-inflammatories, yes; to play with anaesthetic injections, no. I don’t want to put myself in that position again.”

Rafa said he would soon have radiofrequency ablation – which uses heat on the nerve to quell long-term pain – but would have to consider surgery if that treatment did not provide a sufficient solution.

“If that works, I am going to keep going. If that doesn’t work, then it is going to be another story.

“Then I will have to ask myself if I am ready to do a major surgery that doesn’t guarantee me to be able to be competitive again and could take a long time to be back.”

Sources: BBC, Roland Garros, Tennis Channel


  1. I’ll be very sad when he does decide to call it a day, but, if there’s a risk that playing on could cause permanent mobility problems, then retiring will be the wisest decision. But hopefully it’s not that bad.

    • Rafa has achieved so much more than he or any of us could have hoped for since 2004. If the radio frequency ablation that he has arranged to have on his foot does not enable him to carry on playing pain-free, I think Rafa will and should retire. [Rafa has already said at his Press Conference after the Final that he will not play on if the only way to play pain-free is for his Doctor to continue to numb his foot with injections prior to play (as he did throughout the French Open); in part because playing with a numbed foot carries with it the risk of injury. I can’t imagine how Rafa managed to play as well as he did with no feeling in his foot! A truly exceptional competitor and athlete. Let’s hope the non-invasive radio frequency ablation does the job. (Apparently, it has been used quite successfully to deaden the nerves in the feet of patients who suffer with chronic heal pain or plantar fasciitis. If successful, it seems that the patient can remain pain-free for years!) We shall just have to wait and see if it works for our beloved Rafa.

  2. Are we selfish in wanting Rafa to continue playing? If so YES – we just love watching him play a privilege indeed – we can only say “THANK YOU” champ!!!!!

  3. I personally don’t believe in the surgery to enable Rafa to play pain free tennis . Whatever Rafa has been doing , including getting injections , is working well! ! Yes , it’s true it’s not a permanent solution but as long as the treatments enable Rafa to play competitive tennis then they should be continued . Surgery on the nerves in the foot sound radical and with an uncertain outcome . Rafa does not have the luxury of time to heal at age 36 so if wants to keep playing and enjoying the tennis , he should hold off on any major surgeries .
    I want to see Rafa win the US Open and I think his chances are as good as anybody on this but I am sorry of the toll that Wimbledon may take on Rafa’s health . But if he insists , then go for it . Rafa knows he has a short window and wants to play as much as can endure and perhaps win more Grand Slams . Vamos and best of luck Rafa 🥁

    • Rafa please retire now!!!! It is not what I want, but you have accomplished so much. I think it is in your best interest. Nobody should expect you to play anymore. THANKS FOR BEING WHO YOU ARE, THE GREATEST CHAMP EVER

  4. Whatever you decide is best for you Rafa, your health comes first. So very happy for you today, you were amazing, huge Congratulations. Enjoy your celebrations with your beautiful wife and family 🏆🏆🏆💕

  5. The way that the potential major surgery on Rafa’s foot has been explained in the past is that it would enable him to walk without pain but he would not be able to run. Thus he has always chosen to avoid that surgery.

    I can’ say why that would be true; maybe its not. Perhaps surgery outcomes have improved since his original diagnosis. The best outcome would seem to be to put off major surgery and have the ablation procedure which is exactly what he is doing.

    Good luck Rafa! Your fans are with you!

    • Everything of the best Rafael whatever you decide to do. God Bless You 😇

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