Plantar Fasciitis Surgery



Where there’s heel pain there’s also likely a case of plantar fasciitis: PF is one of the leading causes in the development of this type of discomfort. One of the first goals in treating this condition is to reduce the level of pain and inflammation being experienced by the patient. Rest, ice, modification of footwear, and anti-inflammatory medication along with the introduction of orthoses and specialized stretching programs resolves the pain and disability of plantar fasciitis in most people.

There are however, particularly advanced or difficult situations that do not show a positive response to front-line treatments, and if the pain and debilitation are severe enough then these cases become candidates for plantar fasciitis surgery.

What Happens During Plantar Fasciitis Surgery?

The standard surgical procedure in this instance is called ‘fascia release’ and it requires the plantar ligament to be cut in order to reduce excessive tension. Heel spurs commonly occur along with PF and any that are found will be removed during the procedure.

There a several new, much less invasive techniques that have become much more common and they include:

• Plantar fasciotomy (Endoscopic)
• Guided fasciotomy (Ultrasound)
• Coblation surgery, which is also referred to as the topaz technique

Most surgical treatments have both benefits and risks, but unfortunately, plantar fascia surgery tends to have more cons attached to it than pros, which is why it is often only used as a last resort. The problem with PF surgery is that is very invasive but gives only temporary results in many patients.
There are several conditions that must be met before plantar fasciitis surgery is even considered:

• Pain and disability must be chronic and severe.
• Non-invasive treatments must have been regularly applied for a minimum of twelve months without showing positive effects.
• Prescribed exercise and stretching programs must have been executed for several months without improvement.
• The candidate must be aware of all risks and possible side effects.
• The candidate must be aware of the low success rate of this type of surgery and the likelihood of the condition returning.

These are several very important reasons why plantar fasciitis surgery is performed only as a last resort after all other methods have failed:

• The success rate for plantar fasciitis surgery is low and the chances of it re-occurring post-surgery are high.
• The arch of the foot may be left flatter than before if the fascia is loosened excessively.
• Nerves damage may occur, leaving the patient with reduced sensation and a numb feeling in the foot.
• There is a risk of infection (as there is with any surgery).
• Recurring plantar fasciitis may demonstrate more severe symptoms than were present before the surgery took place.

One of the best ways to increase your success rate with plantar fasciitis surgery is to follow post-op recommendations and procedures. You may be required to wear an orthotic device, such as a brace, to support and protect the foot and heel during the recovery period. Rest will be mandatory and you will not be very mobile for approximately three to four weeks post-surgery. It may be several months before recovery is considered complete and you are able to fully return to your usual activity levels.

The amount of patients suffering from plantar fasciitis who undergo surgery as a treatment is very low—the rate is approximately 5%, and the only reason it is that high is that all other treatments have failed and these people are desperate for relief from their symptoms. While 70-80% of these patients experience immediate relief from pain after having planter fasciitis surgery, the majority of them will, unfortunately, have to deal with a reoccurrence of this condition somewhere in the future.


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