Playing Through the Pain: Plantar Fasciitis Heel Injury Slows Angels’ Albert Pujols… Again!

Los Angeles Angels’ slugger Albert Pujols may be suffering from foot pain, but will he let it end his season early? Not a chance. “This is my job,” he told the press before Thursday night’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays. “I still want to play.”

The nagging pain must be frustrating for Pujols, who has already undergone surgery to repair a plantar plate in 2015. Nevertheless, he’s determined to press on: “I’ll have plenty of time to take care of myself in the off-season.”

A Repeat Problem

Alber Pujols, Playing throught foot pain, Plantar Fasciitis

Pujols has been suffering from Plantar Fasciitis on and off for three years.

This is the latest battle in the ongoing war Pujols has waged with plantar fasciitis over 3 years. His first bout, affecting his left foot, took him out of the 2013 season in midsummer with only 99 games under his belt. This time, the condition has flared up in his right foot.

But Pujols and Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia are confident that he’ll be able to play through the pain. If play becomes too risky, then the two will “definitely have a conversation,” remarked Scioscia, but for now, “Albert wants to play. That’s what he’s here for. He’s a great role model for younger players.”

Weighing the Risks

But the decision to keep Pujols in the game despite his injury may not be paying off for the Angels, who lost 2-7 to the Blue Jays. It was the eighth loss of a nine-game stretch, the final nail in the coffin of their first losing season since 2013. For outside observers, it’s hard not to read too much into these coincidences.

Pulled in Two Directions

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain in athletes and non-athletes alike. The pain is caused by inflammation of the plantar fascia, the thick band of tissue in the sole of your foot. The connective tissue joins the heel to the forefoot and is instrumental in flexion and weight-bearing.

Albert Pujols and Hell Pain, University Foot and Ankle Institute

Patients suffering from plantar fasciitis experience the worst pain in the morning, before the joints have limbered up.

“Each step you take exerts a downward force on the midfoot, pushing the heel and forefoot further apart and stretching the plantar fascia,” Dr. Bob Baravarian explains. “When this tension becomes excessive over time, it can cause dozens of tiny microtears in the tissue, triggering the body’s inflammatory response.”

They also start to feel it when they stand up after sitting for a long period of time, or just as they’re warming up into physical activity.

Plantar fasciitis is the bane of existence for athletes whose feet must constantly absorb the shock of landing hard on the ground. Runners, ballet dancers, and of course baseball players know the condition well. It’s also common in people spend a lot of time on their feet – say, at work – and who have flatfeet or unusually high arches.

Treating Plantar Fasciitis

Albert Pujols, Playing through heel pain, plantar fasciitis heel stretches

Plantar Fasciitis stretches help when you are in pain and can help prevent injuries too.

In the vast majority of cases, plantar fasciitis can be treated conservatively. First, runners should reduce the length of their stride and make sure they’re striking the ground heel-first rather than with their mid- or fore-foot. This should take some of the tension off the plantar fascia.

Next, athletes should sleep with a night splint. This is a device that holds the foot in a flexed position at night. When the foot is allowed to relax at night, the microtears heal in a way the pulls the plantar fascia tighter. This is why patients experience so much more pain in the morning – the newly-healed tissue is tearing all over again upon holding weight. A night splint can ease this cycle.

Last, patients should visit their foot and ankle specialist to get fitted for a custom orthotic. A small heel wedge inserted into the shoes can lift pressure off the plantar fascia and give the injury time to heal properly while the patient continues their normal activities.

Conservative treatments are the least risky and should be exhausted first, but if the pain persists, then regenerative therapy such as PRP or stem cell injections, or surgery could be effective alternatives.

Save

The UFAI Education Team

The UFAI Education Team

For almost fifteen years, University Foot and Ankle Institute and their nationally recognized physicians have been providing the most technologically advanced medical care for the foot and ankle with the highest success rates in the country.

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.

The UFAI Education Team works to help empower our patients and website visitors with the most up-to-date information about foot and ankle conditions, treatment options, recovery and injury prevention. Our goal is to pass on truly useful information to our readers.

We hope you enjoy our work and find it of value. Please let us know!
The UFAI Education Team

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

one + thirteen =

  • Yelp
    Communication is easy with all levels of staff. I love the reminders that are done via computer. There are a lot loose ends in my day, and the reminders help me stay organized.
    Sharon E.
  • Yelp
    Dr. Franson and the entire staff at University Foot & Ankle Institute - Valencia are awesome!! I had both feet corrected (bunion surgery) by Dr. Franson and he did amazing work!! He is caring, gentle and friendly, and...
    Helena O.
  • Yelp
    Wow! I have just scrolled down and read through numerous reviews and they are certainly all over the map ! After reading, I felt the strong need to share my family's and friend's multiple satisfying experiences with D...
    Lorna B.
  • CustomerSure
    Dr. Franson is a lifesaver! I walked in with a lot of foot pain and walked out pain-free. I was expecting to get diagnosed and come back for another visit, but Dr. Franson quickly determined my condition and fixed me ...
    Amy G.
  • ZocDoc
    Everyone was very pleasant, and the doctor spoke and listened without typing into a database. Very knowledgeable doctor. I would definitely recommend Dr. Campbell to my "running" friends.
    Thomas T.
  • CustomerSure
    Everyone at this group is awesome!!
    Helena O.
  • Angies List
    Exceptional care. Was concerned that I was going to need surgery, but opted for Platelet Rich Plasma injections that now, two months out, have reduced the inflammation significantly. I actually played basketball last ...
    Anonymous
  • ZocDoc
    Great appointment. Great communication. Explained my particular situation very well, blending medical terms and everyday terms. Staff was very friendly and answered all my questions.
    Anonymous
  • CustomerSure
    Dr. Justin Franson, Suzanne and Jasmine are awesome!!
    Rian B.
  • From my first visit to the Foot and Ankle Institute in Santa Monica to my last physical therapy session, Dr. Baravarian and his team always took the time to answer all my questions and do everything possible to ensure...
    Chris
Same day appointments now available!
or call 24/7:
  • University Foot & Ankle, a Preferred Provider to:
  • UCLA Health System - UCLA Medical Group
  • MPTF - Member Industry Health Network
  • Cirque du Soleil
  • ATP - Association of Tennis Professionals
  • And consulting physicians for:
  • C&S - Cedars-Sinai
  • Saint John's Health Center