The $212 million dollars on Pujols’ contract isn’t enough to get the 2nd year Anaheim Angel into the lineup. What’s keeping him riding the pine? His foot. Pujols has battled a condition called “Plantar Fasciitis” for the last decade. Plantar Fasciitis (aka heel spur, heel pain, arch pain) is a common chronic condition amongst runners. (Click here to learn more about Plantar Fasciitis) In short, the plantar fascia is the continuation of your Achilles’ tendon as it passes behind the heel bone. It forms the bottom of your arch and is stretched out with each step you take. Fasciitis is the chronic inflammation to the plantar fascia resulting in swelling and pain.
Pujols ruptured his plantar fascia, which is basically the goal of surgical treatment for Plantar Fasciitis. The problem is that he now has to be in a walking boot for 4-6 weeks as this heals back together. If this occurred in the off season, it would be helpful and he would have possibly been better off for the next season. Pujols’ recovery is now going to keep him out the remainder of the season.
To play the “Armchair Podiatrist”, I would have placed Pujols in a maximally supinated (high arch) orthotic device. This device helps alleviate the pressure each step places on the Plantar Fascia. Orthotics are a gold standard treatment for chronic Plantar Fasciitis. They are quick to make, easy to use and for the Anaheim Angels, they would probably cost a fraction of one “at bat” for Pujols. Other non-surgical treatment options include stretching exercises, icing, compression, night splints, ultrasound and electrical stimulation therapy, and anti-inflammatory medications including steroids. Speaking of the “S” word or “Vitamin S” as it’s known in the world of baseball, steroids are a great way to treat Plantar Fasciitis. Injectable corticosteroids (not anabolic steroids) are commonly used to inject into the area of the insertion of the fascia. This decreases the chronic inflammation to the area and reduces pain. However, studies show that chronic corticosteroid injections can actually CAUSE RUPTURE of ligaments and tendons! I will go out on a limb and say that Pujols and the “S” word have had a long, very intimate relationship.
For more information on Plantar Fasciitis, heel pain or heel spurs please contact:
Dr. Marcin N. Vaclaw
Foot and Ankle Specialists of The Woodlands
9191 Pinecroft, suite 150
The Woodlands, TX 77380