Los Angeles Angels slugger Albert Pujols, who has been struggling with plantar fasciitis in his left foot for seven years (that’s right, 7 years!), is most likely out for the rest of the season after tearing his plantar fascia in Friday night’s game against Oakland. Angels’ Manager Mike Scioscia said that Pujols, who hit .258 with 17 home runs and 64 RBI’s despite being hobbled all season by the troublesome foot, will be out “for a significant amount of time.”
Back in April Pujols, 33, said of his plantar fasciitis, “I’m dying. It’s hurting real bad.” He was considering off season surgery, and he sort of got his wish Friday night when he tore the ligament, achieving a similar result. In plantar fascia surgery, a podiatric surgeon cuts part of the plantar fascia ligament to release tension and relieve inflammation. The surrounding soft tissue attaches to the plantar fascia and helps it heal. Unfortunately for Pujols, he didn’t suffer a complete tear, so off-season surgery may still be an option.
The minimum recovery period for a plantar fascia tear is six weeks, but with the Angels all but out of playoff contention and a season-high 13 games behind Oakland in the American League West, there is no need to bring Pujols back for the final two weeks of the season. Instead of having surgery in October and spending most of the winter rehabbing, Pujols can spend the rest of the summer recovering and come back healthy in 2014.
Just goes to show what we always say – don’t play through the pain, because it will always get worse, sometimes seriously. It’s remarkable that even with the Angels’ state of the art sports medicine, highly paid trainers, and months to rest in every off season, Pujols’ plantar fasciitis never sufficiently healed. It’s a particularly difficult injury to treat in some cases.
Even if you’re an amateur athlete – especially you marathon runners – you may easily be exposing your feet to the same pounding an MLB player like Pujols does. Any sign of pain – toes, heel, arch, or ankle – needs to be addressed immediately and given time to properly heal. Being out of the game temporarily, even for a full season, is much better than aggravating a minor condition into a serious injury which can sideline you for much longer.