Plantar fasciitis surgery is rarely needed to relieve the effects of plantar fasciitis. This is the true for about 95% of all cases. This is because the treatment options that are highlighted throughout this site are usually pretty effective, once you’ve found the correct one. Most physicians would insist that non-surgical treatments be tried for a minimum of six months before looking into surgical options. At that point, surgery may be considered if your condition is affecting your normal daily activities.
However, if surgery is deemed necessary, it is usually pretty effective. About 75 percent of those who have plantar fasciitis surgery report that their heel pain has diminished. There is a risk, however, that the surgery could possibly cause more problems than it alleviates.
The surgery that would likely be performed is known as the plantar fascia release. The ligament has become too tight, and the surgical procedure will actually detach a portion of the plantar fascia to reduce the tightness, and the stress associated with it. There are varying opinions about where to do the release; a surgeon’s examination would clearly be required. Ideally, the proper amount of release is performed, resulting in less inflammation and stress on the heel. Some of the damaged tissue can be cleaned out during the surgery as well. Also, if there is a heel spur, it can be removed during the same procedure.
There is a risk that too much release to the fascia could occur during the surgery. This can lead to a lowered arch, or flat feet condition, that can cause more long term issues than the plantar fasciitis. There is a concern of nerve damage during the surgery as well; some people have complained of numbness in the foot after the operation. Infection is always a concern during surgery as well.
Recovery to normal activity from plantar fasciitis surgery typically occurs in around six weeks. A non-weight bearing cast or brace will typically be used for 2 to 3 weeks to allow the ligament and tissues to heal. Most people can return to their normal routines in 3 to 6 weeks. Athletic endeavours will have to wait a little longer; usually running and other sports can begin gradually at the 3 month point after surgery.
Another common surgery related to heel pain is the tarsal tunnel release, which is referenced here on this site. This surgery is done to relieve painful compression on the posterior tibial nerve. This is a pretty straight-forward surgery, but has risks associated with possible nerve damage and circulation problems. Recovery from this generally includes physical therapy for 6 to 8 weeks to strengthen the foot and ankle and to increase the flexibility of the foot. Prognosis is generally pretty good for a full recovery.