What is Plantar Fascia Release Surgery?
This surgery involves cutting the plantar fascia at its attachment to the heel bone. If there is a heel spur in this location, it may be removed at the same time. This is because there is good evidence that heel spurs do not cause pain. The pain is actually not necessary to remove the bone spur as the pain actually comes from the plantar fascia. Occasionally there is a very large spur that does need to be removed
- Reduce or eliminate pain on the bottom of the heel.
Possible Alternatives to Surgery
- Custom orthotic devices or Arch supports
- A cast or a night splint
- Medications, either oral or injected
- Physical therapy, ice massages or calf stretching
- Change in activities or occupation
- Weight loss
Potential Complications / Risks
Incomplete or no resolution of pain; Prolonged recovery-pain and/or swelling; Recurrence of pain and/or bone spur; Lowered arch or flattening of the foot; Pain in other areas of the foot, arch or sole; Fracture of the heel bone; Delayed healing or non-healing of skin or soft tissue; Circulation disturbance of skin or soft tissue; Infection of soft tissue or bone; Nerve injury or numbness; Unsightly or painful scar; Thinning or atrophy of the fat pad of the heel; Change in shoe size; Hematoma or bleeding complication; Phlebitis; Mild to life threatening reaction to medications and/or anesthesia.
Usual Post –Operative Care / Recovery
Wear a walking cast (cam walker boot) and use crutches for about 3 weeks; use elevation, rest, and prescribed medications for pain and swelling control; Keep foot dry until the sutures are removed in approximately 3 weeks; utilize anti-swelling and anti-stiffness physical therapy for 1 to 12 months; ween off crutches in 3 to 8 weeks; return to loose shoes or sneakers in approximately 3 to 8 weeks; return to fashionable shoes in 1 to 6 months; return to sedentary activities and/or occupation in 1 to 8 weeks; return to demanding activities and/or occupation in 1 to 6 months; full recovery may take up to 12 months; use of orthoses may be required long-term.