Plantar Fasciitis Heel Pain Treatment: Surgical Options


In the first article of this series, we discussed various conservative treatment options one can consider to help aid in the relief of heel pain associated with plantar fasciitis. This included at-home stretching exercises and the use of basic podiatric medical supplies. In the second article of this series, we covered considerations for visiting a podiatrist, who can offer additional therapeutic options. A majority of patients who utilize these recommendations and treatment options, do go on to have successful resolution of pain associated with plantar fasciitis.

However, in some cases, depending on the nature of the injury, and or the patient, these treatment options may not be enough to resolve the pain or repair the damaged tissue. In these rare cases, surgical options are available for consideration. Read below to learn more about the surgical options for heel pain associated with plantar fasciitis, including details about the procedure, the recovery process, and realistic expectations.

Read about at-home treatment options for heel pain associated with plantar fasciitis here

To learn what conservative treatment options the podiatrist recommended and can offer for pain associated with plantar fasciitis, read here

As stated, above, a majority of individuals suffering from heel pain associated with plantar fasciitis are able to successfully resolve pain and repair the damaged tissue with a combination of conservative treatment options. However, in some cases after exhausting multiple forms of conservative care, individuals may consider exploring surgical options to ultimately resolve their pain and limitations. When this is explored and ultimately performed, most of these individuals go on to successful pain resolution and return back to their normal activities of daily living.

The goal of the surgical procedure for heel pain is to provide fast-acting pain relief and a quick return to activities that are both effective and permanent. The procedures are relatively minor and very straightforward, with the main concept of releasing a small portion of the plantar fascial ligament on the bottom of the foot.

There are various techniques that include performing the procedure through small incisions or a much larger open incision. Regardless of the technique performed by the surgeon, the ultimate goal is to release the tightness in the plantar fascia. In most cases, this will lead to a noticeable difference in pain immediately after surgery and in some cases, full pain relief.

As stated above, there are various techniques to perform a partial release of the plantar fascial ligament. In some cases, this can be performed in a small procedure room, while other cases require the procedure to be done in the operating room. Regardless of where the procedure is performed, a compression dressing will be on the foot for a minimum of a week, and bathing the foot is typically permitted after one week.

A prescription for pain medication is commonly dispensed beforehand and can help control any discomfort immediately following the procedure. Please note that results do vary between individuals, including the necessary recovery time after the procedure. With that being said, a majority of individuals are able to walk on their foot in a protective boot immediately after the procedure.

It is highly recommended that individuals anticipate 2 to 4 weeks of decreased activities with a gradual return to full weight bearing and normal walking. A supportive walking shoe and firm shoe orthotic are highly recommended after the procedure to maintain support to the plantar fascia and to offload the surgical site.

Heel pain associated with plantar fasciitis on the bottom of the foot is a common ailment affecting individuals of all ages. In most cases, a combination of conservative options can significantly decrease pain and inflammation while walking, however, surgical options are available for those persistent cases of heel pain. Consider the conservative options discussed in this series on heel pain treatment options for plantar fasciitis. If you have pain that persists, our podiatrists are highly skilled in finding a treatment plan that can work for you!

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