what product does Rafael Nadal use to relieve his pain?

During this Roland-Garros tournament, Rafael Nadal would therefore have resorted to injections of a local anesthetic to be able to play his matches without pain. The objective sought is to anesthetize the painful part of his foot.

On the regulatory level, “anesthetic injections no longer appear, since 2004, on the nomenclature of illicit substances”, underlines Dr. Jean-Pierre de Mondenard, specialist in doping, on his website. In other words, they are not – no longer – prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The fact remains that they remain “likely to improve physical performance”, we read a little further on when he lists the – moral – criteria that meet the definition of doping.

Lidocaine? Not sure…

The doctor cites in particular lidocaine. Could it really be this product? Not sure, as stated in the forthcoming issue of Sport et Vie magazine. Its half-life is only 30 minutes. In other words, once injected, lidocaine loses half of its plasma concentration – and therefore of its effectiveness – every half hour. Which does not seem very compatible with extended matches, from 3 to 5 hours…

During Roland-Garros, Nadal was also questioned by journalists on the use of corticosteroids through authorization for therapeutic use (AUT). But without ever confirming or denying…

Pulsed radiofrequency as a remedy

The day after the Parisian tournament, the Spanish media also relayed another approach that had apparently been tested by the tennis champion, again to anesthetize his foot pain: pulsed radiofrequency treatments. “It is an electrical stimulation of the peripheral or autonomic central nervous system. It is used as a second line to treat patients suffering from chronic pain”, describe French doctors in a scientific article.

And this, in many specialties: “In oncology, it is used in particular to destroy liver metastases”, reports Dr. Christian Daulouède, still in the journal Sport et Vie. “In cardiology, it burns the small foci at the origin of arrhythmias. »

On the other hand, its use appears to be much rarer in orthopaedics. The sports doctor reports that pulsed radiofrequency was “used a lot in cases of vertebral osteoarthritis before being almost completely abandoned”. Blame it on remote side effects, such as “deep sensitivity loss”…

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