The human foot contains a thick fibrous band that extends from the heel bone throughout the sole of the foot. These fibrous tissues are called plantar fascia. When they become inflamed, the condition is called plantar fasciitis.
Causes of plantar fasciitis?
It is not completely clear what causes this painful condition. Prolonged standing or walking, as well as obesity, seem to be the contributing factors. Other potential causes include injury, improper footwear and structural abnormalities.
Treatment options for plantar fasciitis
In some cases, stretches and special exercise routine under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist can solve the problem with plantar fasciitis. Wearing special shoes and orthotic devices also helps in a lot of cases. Pain killers and icing of the affected foot provide relief from the pain, although it is usually only temporary. Another treatment option is injection therapy, where corticosteroid injections are administered to the affected region to relieve the inflammation more quickly and efficiently.
However, these treatment options are sometimes not sufficient to solve the problem and in such cases a surgery may be necessary.
Surgery for plantar fasciitis
When less invasive treatment for plantar fasciitis fails to provide relief, when the pain is particularly severe and when the structural damage to the foot extends beyond the plantar fascia, it may be necessary to undergo a surgical procedure.
The most commonly performed surgical procedure for this health issue is called plantar fascia release. Just as the name suggests, it involves the release or even the complete removal of the affected fascia. In this procedure, the surgeon makes a small incision in the heel, through which he pulls out the damaged or inflamed part of the fascia.
Recovery time after surgery for plantar fasciitis
Even though the surgery for plantar fasciitis is relatively common and usually completely safe, it still requires some recovery time afterwards. Recovery greatly depends on the patient and on the extent of the inflammation. Younger people always recover faster than older ones, and this goes for almost every type of surgical procedure. In surgery for plantar fasciitis, the recovery time for otherwise healthy adults is three to four weeks, which is how long the tissues take to heal.
Even though in some cases complete recovery can be reached in three to four months, in average it takes a full year to completely recover and to be able to use normally the operated foot.
During the recovery it is necessary to do regular foot exercise and special stretches of plantar fascia.