The plantar fascia is a thick, web-like band of ligament that runs along the sole of the foot, from the bottom of the heel to the base of the toes. It keeps the arch of the foot from flattening completely when the foot is bearing weight, thus providing cushioning and shock absorption. The plantar fascia also allows you to point your toes.
When the plantar fascia becomes inflamed, a baseball player will feel pain in the bottom of the foot, most notably in the heel. Plantar fasciitis, which is the inflammation or thickening of the tissue, is most often caused by repetitive over-stretching of the plantar fascia, which can occur during running.
Typical recovery time
Rest is the best treatment for plantar fasciitis, but it is difficult to keep baseball players off of their feet for long during a 162-game schedule and the condition can become chronic. Surgery may be necessary and involves cutting the ligament to release tension and relieve inflammation. Recovery from surgery is 3-4 months, so some players opt to play through the pain instead, taking days off as needed.
Albert Pujols has dealt with plantar fasciitis in his left foot for much of his career. He began struggling with the same condition in his right foot during the 2016 season, had surgery in December 2016 and was ready for Opening Day in 2017. Evan Longoria has also dealt with plantar fasciitis in both feet and missed some time in the spring of 2017 to rest his left foot.