The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Baseball Player Mark Trumbo’s Foot Injury: The Hazards of Playing Through Pain

Posted by on Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

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Shortly after hitting his 100th career home-run, Arizona Diamondbacks’ Mark Trumbo was issued a strong blow from his physician. He will miss the next six weeks due to a stress fracture in the third metatarsal of his left foot. At the time of his foot injury, he was tied for the most home runs (seven) and second in runs batted in (19).

“You’re probably talking about 40 homers and 100 R.B.I.s,” third baseman Eric Chavez told Yahoo! Sports. “We can’t replace him. We just collectively have to be better.” Here at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in New York City, we focus on pain relief and getting athletes back to the game as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, there are some injuries that require extended recovery time to fully heal.

mark trumbo
Former Angels’ player Mark Trumbo got off to a great start with the Arizona Diamondbacks, but injury has set him back at least six weeks.
Image Source: Wikimedia.org

Foot Injury Update: What Happened to Mark Trumbo?

Often what sports medicine doctors see is a ripple effect of injuries that occur when an initial injury changes an athlete’s biomechanics. Mark Trumbo’s woes date back to a stress fracture in his right foot at the end of 2011, which took five and a half months to heal. At the beginning of training camp this year, he suffered the searing pains of plantar fasciitis. Trumbo reportedly wore a walking boot for stability, and underwent electronic stimulation to speed up the healing process. The MLB player admitted that his heel injury “probably had something to do with” his stress fracture. “That plantar was rough,” he recalled, adding that he probably began shifting weight to the front of his foot to compensate.

His most recent fracture didn’t occur from a misstep, as acute sports injuries do — but rather, it gradually weakened over time with overuse. Trumbo felt the injury while jogging out to left field at the end of the seventh inning during a game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. “I felt kind of a cramp,” he told reporters. Later that evening, his conditioned worsened and he realized he couldn’t run. “It could have been a ticking time bomb. There could have been a lot of inflammation around that area and it gave way finally,” he surmised.

It’s not always wise to “play through the pain,” despite personal ambitions or pressure from your coach. According to The Bleacher ReportTrumbo started his stint with the D-backs with five home runs in nine games. Yet, his early surge dropped off to .264, and he’s only gotten two more home runs since April 6. Clearly, the plantar pain was affecting his game play. Had trainers taken him out then, he could have probably returned after three or four weeks of rehabilitation — without the added stress of a stress fracture.

foot stress fracture
Stress fractures of the foot feel different, depending on the person, as well as the nature and severity of the injury.
Image Source: NWRunningLab.com

What Does a Metatarsal Stress Fracture Feel Like?

Stress fractures are no fun, as anyone who’s been through it will tell you. It can be difficult to tell the difference between a pulled muscle, a torn tendon, and a stress fracture at times. Here are a few ways people have described the pain:

– “I didn’t feel the injury build up… but when it hit, I could barely walk on the foot. That day, it was constant pain, with spikes when putting weight on the foot. Later, I felt spikes of pain every time I landed on the foot, but standing did not cause pain, nor did walking (heel strike). Weeks after injury, very short runs did not cause pain; I had to run about 1km before I could feel pain. I could push on the bone and it would hurt, but not as much as when running.” – Erik Norgaard

– “I actually had a lot of burning in the heel area and felt stinging (like bee stings) near my toes. And my ankle hurt. I had no swelling in the foot at all. It hurt to walk on it. It even hurt to pedal on the trainer. When the doc cupped my heel and squeezed… that was really bad.” – J. Dotten

– “Basically, my foot ached a lot, and whenever I would walk, run, etc., I got a sharp pain in one localized spot.” – MER456

– “If you flex your toes toward you, you might feel some pain if you have tendonitis. A stress fracture feels more like a bruise if you’re pressing on the area from the top of the foot.” – Nicholas G.

– “All of my [seven] stress fractures started as sharp pain that wouldn’t go away no matter what (with or without shoes). If you continue to train hard (doing hard workouts/race), the pain gets progressively worse, to the point where you absolutely can’t run and you can’t hop on that injured leg. The “hop test” was always a sure sign. I would have ‘throbbing’ pain just lying in bed.” – Camille Herron

– “A stress fracture typically feels like an aching or burning localized pain somewhere along a bone. Usually, it will hurt to press on it, and the pain will get progressively worse as you run on it, eventually hurting while walking or even when you’re not putting any weight on it at all. Sometimes, if the stress fracture is along a bone that has a lot of muscles around it, like the tibia or femur, these muscles will feel very tight.” – Runners Connect

Treatment for Stress Fractures in NYC

The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine takes a total body approach to wellness. We may recommend a walking boot or cast to prevent you from bearing weight on the injury and stop the bone from actually cracking in half. We can also help you through physical therapy exercises, strength training, nutrition counseling, wraps, and custom orthotic inserts for your shoes. For more information on diagnosing and treating a metatarsal stress fracture, contact us online.

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If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.