Key Points About Plantar Fascia Release Surgery

  • Plantar fascia release surgery is a procedure used to treat moderate to severe plantar fasciitis.
  • Your doctor may recommend plantar fascia release surgery if you an athlete who has experienced severe symptoms for more than six months and your pain is affecting your performance, or you are unable to work due to the pain associated with plantar fasciitis.
  • While complications are not common, they can occur and may include recurring heel pain, slow wound healing, and nerve tissues such as nerve entrapment.
  • Your doctor will decide whether to perform plantar fascia release surgery either arthroscopically or through open surgery.
  • Most patients can return to their normal activity level within six weeks of plantar fascia release surgery and experience a full recovery.

Candidates for Plantar Fascia Release Surgery

Surgery is not appropriate for all people who have plantar fasciitis. You may be a candidate for plantar fascia release surgery if:

  • You have severe symptoms for six or more months.
  • Your symptoms are affecting your athletic performance or ability to participate in sports.
  • You are unable to work due to pain associated with plantar fasciitis. 

Risks associated with Plantar Fascia Release Surgery

While complications associated with plantar fascia release surgery are not common, risks include:

Recurring heel pain.

Slow wound healing.

Nerve issues, such as nerve entrapment.

Neuroma - benign tumor of nerve cells and nerve fibers.

Preparation for Plantar Fascia Release Surgery

Before having plantar fascia release surgery, your doctor will ensure you have tried nonsurgical therapies such as stretching exercises and physical therapy first.  

Your doctor will outline the side effects associated with the surgery before the surgery.

What to Expect During Plantar Fascia Release Surgery

Plantar fascia release surgery can be done either through open surgery or endoscopically. 

During open plantar fascia release surgery, your doctor will make an incision above the heel pad of the foot or on the bottom of the foot. 

During endoscopic plantar fascia release surgery, your doctor will make smaller incisions on the outside of the foot near the ankle. 

Your doctor may:

  • Detach the plantar fascia from the heel bone.
  • Make incisions on either side of the plantar fascia to relieve tension.
  • Remove or smooth the bone surface to help the plantar fascia heal with minimal tension.
  • Remove a small piece of damaged tissue.
  • Remove a heel spur.

Plantar Fascia Release Surgery Recovery

Patients who have traditional open surgery will be required to wear a boot for two to three weeks after surgery to keep weight off the foot and allow the tissues to heal properly.

Patients who have endoscopic surgery will be able to begin minimal weight-bearing activities soon after surgery as well as wear regular shoes when they fit properly.

Most people return to their normal activity level within three to six weeks after surgery. 

Your doctor and physical therapist will give you strengthening and flexibility exercises soon after surgery. You will not be able to run or jump for three months after surgery.