Plantar Fasciitis Surgery: What You Need to Know
In an average year, one in ten people in the U.S. will battle Plantar Fasciitis, an inflammation of the thick band of tissue that runs across the bottoms of our feet and connects the heel bones with the toes. While there are several conservative treatment methods available that can relieve symptoms, nothing gives a person with chronic heel pain cold feet like the word “surgery.”
Of course, fear is a powerful emotion that leads many patients to drag their feet and avoid the one thing that could bring them relief. Chief among the concerns is the recovery period and how soon a person can walk after plantar fasciitis surgery. Patients may worry about taking time off from work, missing out on favorite recreational activities, or even requiring assistance from family and friends following a surgical procedure.
But if you’re one of those suffering, here’s why it’s high time to hotfoot it to the experts for evaluation and put your foot down on a life of constant pain. For one thing, the most common surgery performed today—Endoscopic Plantar Fasciotomy or EPF—is an outpatient procedure that only takes about 20 minutes to perform. Patients are sedated and the recovery time is relatively quick and easy. For the first two weeks following, the key to a successful recovery is keeping weight off the affected foot, meaning you’ll require a little assistance to walk. Patients can choose from crutches, walkers, rolling knee scooters, and wheelchairs in this phase. After that, a walking boot allows you to progressively add pressure to the foot for a month or so. By six weeks, most people are ready to transition to supportive shoes, and by week ten, they are ready to dive back into their normal routine with both feet.
EPF requires a small incision on either side of the affected heel. On one side, a small camera is placed in the incision, and on the other a small surgical hook. The surgeon uses the camera to see the contracted fascia and uses the hook to cut a portion in order to release and lengthen it. The hook and camera is then removed and the incision is closed with one or two stitches. Better yet? Doctors report that Endoscopic Plantar Fasciotomy has a success rate approaching 90 percent.
Other emerging non-invasive, FDA-approved Plantar Fasciitis treatment options include Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Technology (EPAT), a form of shock wave therapy. Essentially, acoustic pressure waves are used to increase metabolism and blood flow to the affected area, stimulating healing by triggering a cascade of responses that help regenerate damaged tissues. Read more about it here: (LINK OTHER BLOG ON THEIR WEBSITE?)
What treatment is best for you? Only your podiatrist can say. But the bottom line on the bottom of your feet is simply this: There’s no reason to live with chronic pain.
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