Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo had a disappointing game yesterday in his team's 4-0 loss to Germany. Could Ronaldo's poor showing be the result of a witch doctor's curse?
Medical doctors say Ronaldo is suffering from patellar tendinosis. Ghana witch doctor Nana Kwaku Bonsam (The Devil of Wednesday), on the other hand, claims he has cursed Ronaldo with the ailment and no amount of medical treatment can cure him.
"I know what Cristiano Ronaldo's injury is about," Bonsam told a Ghana radio station. "I'm working on him. I am very serious about it. Last week, I went around looking for four dogs and I got them to be used in manufacturing a special spirit called Kahwiri Kapam. I said it four months ago that I will work on Cristiano Ronaldo seriously and rule him out of the World Cup or at least prevent him from playing against Ghana, and the best thing I can do is to keep him out through injury. This injury can never be cured by any medic. They can never see what is causing the injury because it is spiritual. Today, it is his knee, tomorrow it is his thigh, next day it is something else."
According to medical doctors, Ronaldo has tendinosis in his left knee. He is also suffering from a "thigh problem" and hamstring strain.
Witch doctor spells notwithstanding, tendinosis is tricky, since it is a chronic problem. Patellar tendinitis is the acute, short-term diagnosis of pain in the tendon that connects the quads to the low leg. By the time doctors make a tendinosis diagnosis, the tendon has changed structurally through tears, waste products or thickening. It requires rest to fully heal, which won't happen during the World Cup.
Tendinosis is especially limiting for a dynamic player like Ronaldo. It will affect his ability to plant on the left leg, sprint and generate powerful kicks. You'll want to watch how he does in the second half of games, as his pain will worsen during activity.
Ronaldo has several options for treating tendinosis. The first is kinesio taping the joint to improve lymph flow and function of the tendon and muscle. Another is dry needling the tendon. With this method, a doctor inserts needles into the tendon to decrease pain and inflammation and start the tendon remodeling process. The third and, according to this study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine, most effective method, is autologous blood injections, also known as plasma-rich protein injections.
Ironically, Portugal is playing in the "Group of Death," which includes Ghana, the United States and Germany. After losing to Germany, Portugal will need a great game from Ronaldo against Ghana on June 26 if it hopes to advance. Will The Devil of Wednesday have a say in Cristiano Ronaldo's performance, or will modern sports medicine and sheer guts keep one of the best players in the world on the pitch?
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