Nadal’s Rare Foot Problem Almost Lead to Golf Career!

In July, we posted a blog on international tennis champion Rafael Nadal’s troublesome heel pain he was forced to play through at this year’s Wimbledon games.  In Nadal’s new memoir titled “Rafa” he discussed another foot problem that has worried him throughout his career and in 2005.  The pain caused by the problem was so severe that it almost caused him to give up on the game of tennis entirely and try his luck at professional golf instead!

While plantar fasciitis, the likely culprit begind Nadal’s previous heel pain, is very common here in Columbus, OH and around the world, his 2005 foot problem was likely due to a much more rare condition called Kohler’s disease.  Nadal refers to his problem as a congenital condition in which the navicular bone of the foot did not harden completely and has caused him problems ever since.  Kohler’s disease is not truly thought of as a congenital disease, but develops in a child’s foot typically around ages 5-10 when a traumatic event has caused loss of blood supply to the bone before it finished ossifying.  While this type of blood loss causes similar diseases in other bones in kids, the navicular plays an important role in the support of the long and transverse arches of the foot and is the last foot bone to ossify.  A child with Kohler’s disease will normally limp on the affected foot; have pain over the middle side of the arch; avoid putting pressure on the middle side of the foot and redness and swelling will often be present.  Foot pain in a child should always be treated carefully to ensure that any problems with the growing and ossifying areas of bone are handled appropriately to ensure proper development.   As kids go back to school, it is important to keep this in mind that not only are the right shoes important to prevent injuries, but so is proper care when an injury or pain does develop!  While Kohler’s disease typically heals normally with no adverse effects later on, it seems that Rafael Nadal unfortunately did not find the best podiatrist for him until later on in his tennis career!

Please visit www.ColumbusFoot.com for more information or call 614-885 FEET (3338) to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus Podiatry & Surgery is located on the North side of Columbus, Ohio near Worthington. If you would like to see a podiatrist in Dublin, Ohio near Tuttle Crossing, call 614-885-3338 for an appointment.

By Dr. Animesh (Andy) Bhatia