Albert Pujols of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim underwent foot surgery last week to treat an injury sustained during their game against the Cleveland Indians in August. The first baseman injured his plantar plate near his second toe upon hitting the first base bag on a double-play.
The X-ray and MRI exams showed no structural damage, but the injury wasn’t healing on its own and had just been getting “worse and worse,” said Pujols. He felt severe pain and tightness and wasn’t confident in his ability to play, especially after battling some discomfort in his right knee.
The knee was surgically repaired following an injury three years ago. The new injury is like a recurring nightmare for Pujols, who suffered a serious case of plantar fasciitis in 2013. The plantar fasciitis dramatically impacted his season, taking him to a new career low of only 99 games.
Pujols stayed on as a designated hitter for the last month of this season. General Manager Billy Eppler says that Pujols isn’t expected to return to “full baseball activities” for another four or five months, late into spring training. He may not be fully recovered in time for opening day, a home game against the Chicago Cubs on April 4.
Although Eppler was hopeful that Pujols’ plantar plate would take care of itself with enough rest and care, the injury just wasn’t progressing like it should. Dr. Robert Anderson recommended surgery, and performed it himself in Charlotte, North Carolina.
But there is some good news for Albert. “Repair of the plantar plate has been dramatically improved with the use of a primary repair system,” says Dr. Bob Baravarian, Chief of Podiatric Surgery at Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center. “The improved procedure allows for repair of the plantar plate directly to bone. It’s a much stronger repair.”
Pujols is moving around on crutches, but is expected to be fitted with a walking boot within a couple weeks. He plans to take his recovery slowly, even if that affects his off-season hitting program. He will be spending his rehabilitation in Kansas City.
University of Foot and Ankle Institute is at the forefront of plantar plate repair technologies. Our foot and ankle specialists have designed many of the products that are currently on the market as well as educated doctors across the nation on these improved techniques.
As a teaching institution, University Foot and Ankle Institute’s Fellowship Program is among the most advanced in the nation.
We at UFAI are driven to get our patients back to their normal activities with the highest level of function, in the least amount of time, using the least invasive treatments possible. From start to finish, we are with you every step of the way.
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