Plantar fascia release surgery involves cutting part of the plantar fascia ligament to release tension and relieve inflammation of the ligament (plantar fasciitis). Your doctor can use medicine that numbs the area (local anesthetic) for the procedure. Plantar fascia release can be done by cutting the area (open surgery) or by inserting instruments through small incisions (endoscopic surgery).
If you have traditional open surgery, you may wear a non-weight-bearing cast or brace, such as an equalizer brace or a CAM walker (which resembles a long ski boot), for 2 to 3 weeks after surgery to allow tissues to heal.
If you have endoscopic surgery, you can begin limited weight-bearing immediately and can begin wearing normal shoes again as soon as it is comfortable. Most people return to their normal activities in 3 to 6 weeks.
You will begin a gradual strengthening and flexibility program after surgery. Running or jumping is restricted for at least 3 months after surgery.
Surgery may be appropriate for only 5% of people with plantar fasciitis.1 Some foot experts may recommend surgery more often. Generally, your doctor may recommend surgery if:
Most people (over 75 out of 100) have less pain after plantar fascia release surgery. Up to 25 out of 100 people who have surgery continue to have pain.2
Risks of plantar fascia release include:
Endoscopic surgery should be done by a surgeon who is specially trained in the technique and who has experience doing the surgery. Ask how many endoscopic surgeries the surgeon has done and how successful they were.
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and American Academy of Pediatrics (2010). Plantar fasciitis chapter of Foot and ankle section. In JF Sarwark, ed., Essentials of Musculoskeletal Care, 4th ed., pp. 839–844. Rosemont, IL: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
- Mann JA, et al. (2006). Heel pain section of Foot and ankle surgery. In HB Skinner, ed., Current Diagnosis and Treatment in Orthopedics, 4th ed., pp. 502–504. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Last Revised: July 13, 2011
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