Plantar Fascia Surgery

         Plantar fascia surgery is sometimes a treatment option to reverse the effects of plantar fasciitis. Plantar fascia surgery is not used in the majority of cases of plantar fasciitis. Generally, only about 5% of plantar fasciitis sufferers undergo this type of treatment. In these rare instances surgery is considered, the majority of these patients have a full recovery however there is always a possibility that complications may develop.

         In most cases planar fascia surgery is considered only after conservative treatments for plantar fasciitis have failed. Orthotics are usually the most effective way to treat the condition of plantar fasciitis. Sometimes treatment methods such as orthotics, anti-inflammatory medications, night splints, and other simple methods of treatment may not adequately treat pain. In these cases more serious treatment methods may be considered such as cortisone injections or extracorporeal shock therapy. When all these treatment methods have failed to significantly relieve pain, plantar fascia surgery is considered.

         Before plantar fascia surgery is decided upon as a treatment option there are certain criteria that should be met. First, the condition should be serious enough to have lasted nine to twelve months while trying other non-surgical treatment. Stretches and other exercises designed to decrease symptoms of plantar fasciitis should also have been used during this period. Athletes who suffer from this condition might also consider surgery when performance becomes significantly impaired by heel pain and related ailments. Lastly, before participating in plantar fascia surgery it is crucial that you are aware of the risks involved with the surgery. Although the procedure is not generally serious, negative side effects can still occur.

         There are several complications that can inhibit full recovery following plantar fascia surgery. First, the arch of the heel can be reduced if the plantar fascia is released too much. Also, numbness in certain areas may occur following surgery if the nerves around the fascia become damaged. Infections can also develop which will need to be treated with antibiotics. Lastly, patients can also come out of surgery still feeling symptoms of plantar fasciitis and feeling pain around the heel.

         In most cases traditional plantar fascia release surgery involves open surgery. In this procedure, the orthopedic surgeon cuts part of the plantar fascia ligament, thereby relieving some tension that may have accumulated. To do this, the surgeon will begin by making an incision around the heel pad. Incisions could then be made to the fascia ligament to release strain. Also, if a heel spur is present it may be removed along with any damaged tissue. Edoscopic surgery may also be used and it involves locating the damaged portion of the fascia through instruments that are fed through a small incision.

         Following plantar fascia surgery, a cast or brace may be used to reduce weight on the heel of the foot to allow the tissue to heal. It may take a few weeks before weight bearing can be applied. In most cases it will take at least three months to regain full activity of the foot.

         Like with any type of surgery, plantar fascia surgery certainly has its risks. However, the majority of patients who undergo this procedure enjoy a full recovery so it is important to decide with your orthopedic surgeon if the procedure is right for you.

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