Gareth Bale has come up with a novel solution to help combat the recurring calf muscle injury that has already sidelined him on three separate occasions so far this season.
After spending the past six weeks nursing yet another calf strain, Bale came off the bench to score in Real Madrid’s 7-1 obliteration of Celta Vigo at the weekend.
However, the keen-eyed among you may have noticed a minor modification made to the Welsh forward’s kit: a couple of small, strategic holes cut into the back of his socks.
AS inform us that, according to their “medical sources”, the holes weren’t merely in place as a ventilation aid, no no.
Indeed, it turns out the holes were cut to, a) help relieve pressure on Bale’s soleus muscles and, b) help reduce his preoccupation with suffering a repeated injury in the future.
Modern football socks are designed to improve circulation, by slightly compressing the tissue, which also helps avoids aches, cramps and bruising.
Avoiding the feeling of pressure may however help the player in terms of mental confidence and fear of the injury recurring, particularly given that Bale is aware of the weakness and concerned about the injury coming back.
Sports science at work, people. These are heady days we’re living in.