Plantar Fasciitis Surgery

Although you can get surgery for your plantar fasciitis, the best treatment for it is the more conservative approaches. If you have tried shoe inserts, night splints, and a thorough exercise routine and do not have any relief from your pain, you and your doctor may want to consider surgery to stop the pain for good. Surgery is not without its risks, however, and you may get more trouble than you bargained for if you opt for it. Plantar fascia release is rarely performed in the case of plantar fasciitis, so you must have a unique and persistent case for a doctor to recommend this line of treatment. Even with surgery, though, sometimes the pain does not go away entirely and it can introduce new risks to your aching foot.

Surgery Explained
The most common type of surgery for plantar fasciitis pain is the plantar fascia release. Sometimes, your doctor may perform a surgery to remove a heel spur if your plantar fasciitis is specifically caused by this outcropping of bone. Not all plantar fasciitis patients have heels spurs, so this is done only if the heel spur is causing the pain. Still, in the surgery, the doctor may shave and smooth the heel bone to prevent any unnecessary irritation.

Plantar fascia release surgery is performed two ways: open and orthoscopic. In the open approach, your surgeon will make a large incision over the insertion point of the plantar fascia, or roughly in the fat pad of the heel. In orthoscopic surgery, the surgeon makes only small incisions around the ankle and uses tools and a camera to manipulate the plantar fascia. Recovery times are less with this type of surgery, but many doctors are not trained in this procedure. Be sure to find a qualified doctor if you are thinking about this type of plantar fascia release.

Once the plantar fascia is exposed, the doctor will cut the ligament at the insertion point at the heel bone. Sometimes the surgeon will make incisions on either side of the plantar fascia to release the tension, and hopefully, reduce the inflammation. The bone will be shaped and smoothed to prevent irritation, and the large muscle of the foot, the abductor hallicus, may be cut to avoid nerve entrapment and further pain.

Plantar fascia release is not without its risks. One of the most common risks with any surgery is infection, and this surgery is no different. This would necessitate a round of antibiotics, and sometimes requires the surgical removal of infected tissue.

Aside from infection, this surgery poses many other risks. One risk is over release of the plantar fascia. Despite its name, this surgery only seeks to release 30 to 50 percent of the ligament. If any more is released, you may have a chronic flat foot after surgery, and this can cause you as much pain or more than the original plantar fasciitis. The nerves that run to the plantar fascia can sometimes get damaged, and this can cause pain in its own right. It is more common after orthoscopic surgery than with the open approach. This risk can also cause numbness in your foot that is uncomfortable or difficult to walk with. You may not get any relief of your symptoms from the surgery, and that makes it more risky than other surgeries. With knee surgery, doctors are fairly certain of the outcome, but plantar fascia release is not so certain. The surgery may be performed successfully, but it may not make any difference in your pain level.

Other risks include nerve entrapment, or a condition that is like carpal tunnel of the foot, difficulty in wound healing, slow return to normal activities, and a neuroma, or a benign tumor of nerves and tissue in the foot. For these reasons, those who want this surgery are instructed to try the more conservative approaches before deciding to have plantar fascia release.

When to Opt for Surgery
Surgery is typically only suggested for about 5 percent of people who have plantar fasciitis. This is because of its unpredictable success rate and the presence of so many effective conservative treatments. If your condition is severe enough to be disabling – such as you are unable to walk without severe pain – you may want to consider surgery as an option. Even in this case, though, your symptoms should be present for at least 6 months, and sometimes doctors will not attempt the surgery unless you have symptoms for over a year. Other reasons for surgery include an athletic lifestyle that is severely impacted by the pain or difficulty performing your job due to the condition. Surgery is often considered when conservative treatments are ineffective against the pain of the plantar fasciitis. It is important that you demonstrate adherence to treatment and try hard to make the conservative efforts work before opting for surgery.

Prognosis after Surgery
For some patients, plantar fascia release is a very successful surgery, and they are happy they chose to risk it. However, it is usually only effective in 75 to 80 percent of those who opt to go under the knife. This may give you pause, and it should. Plantar fascia release is not a predictable surgery like knee replacement, and it may end up causing you more pain or not relieving symptoms. For these reasons, doctors are reluctant to perform the surgery, except in the most persistent and painful situations.

After open or traditional surgery, you will have to wear a non-weight bearing cast on your foot for two to three weeks. This boot usually comes up to just under the knee and is quite bulky. If you opt to have orthoscopic surgery, you can usually bear weight on the foot the night of the surgery and wear normal shoes whenever you feel comfortable. It still takes about three to six weeks after your surgery to recover. Stressful activities, such as running or jumping, are restricted for the first six months afterwards.

If you choose to have plantar fascia release, you should realize that only 75 in 100 people report an improvement in their pain. Careful and diligent use of the conservative methods, such as exercises and shoe orthotics, is preferable to a surgery that may or may not work. Still, if the pain is so great that you are essentially imprisoned by it, surgery may just be the solution that you are looking for.

Start your heel pain treatment immediately
There are many factors the cause heel pain and plantar fasciitis. It is important to identify what are the factors (like body weight, shoes, muscle tightness ect..) that can cause your heel pain. Unfortunately no 2 people are the same so what has worked for some will not work for others. Fortunately we have put together an ebook that can assess your risk factors and guide you through your plantar heel pain and plantar fasciitis treatment today.

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