What Is the Success Rate of Plantar Fasciitis Surgery?

What Is Plantar Fasciitis?

Surgery to treat plantar fasciitis is only done as a last resort. It has a 70% to 90% cure rate.
Surgery to treat plantar fasciitis is only done as a last resort. It has a 70% to 90% cure rate.

The plantar fascia is a thick piece of fibrous connective tissue that extends from the heel bone and fans out along the bottom of the foot to the toes. The fascia provides support to the arch of the foot and acts as a shock absorber.

Plantar fasciitis is a common foot injury caused by repetitive impact to the heel and plantar fascia by activities such as running, marching, or dancing, that results in foot pain.

What Are Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis?

Symptoms of plantar fasciitis include: 

  • Foot pain
    • Beneath the heel and sole of the foot 
    • Pain is often worst when stepping onto the foot or first thing in the morning
    • Often described as burning, sharp, stabbing
    • Pain may be severe 
    • May occur in one or both feet
  • Difficulty walking 
  • Warmth and swelling of the bottom of the foot

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis often occurs from repetitive impact to the heel, such as from athletic or high-impact activity:

  • Running
  • Dancing
  • Exercise involving jumping
  • Basketball
  • Falls

Risk factors that increase the risk of developing plantar fasciitis include:

  • Obesity
  • Prolonged standing
  • Limited ankle flexibility

Plantar fasciitis is common among runners. Possible factors that may increase the risk of developing plantar fasciitis in runners include:

  • Running too hard or too far 
  • Sudden increases in the distance run
  • Improper running shoes
  • Running on hard surfaces
  • Prolonged walking or standing on hard surfaces 
  • Flat feet
  • High arches

How Is Plantar Fasciitis Diagnosed?

Plantar fasciitis is diagnosed starting with a physical exam to check for tenderness in the sole of the foot. 

Tests that may be used to confirm a diagnosis of plantar fasciitis include:

What Is the Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis?

Treatment for plantar fasciitis is usually conservative and aimed at reliving symptoms and may include: 

  • Rest
  • Limited activity
  • Ice
  • Gentle stretching of the plantar fascia 
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain
  • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
  • Naproxen (Aleve)
  • Protective footwear
  • Athletic shoes
  • Arch-supporting shoes 
  • Shoes with rigid shanks 
  • Avoid slippers or going barefoot
  • Shoe inserts
  • Gel pad inserts or heel cups may provide temporary pain relief
  • Silicone inserts may provide better support than felt pads or rubber heel cups
  • Tape support 
  • "Low Dye" taping (wrapping the foot with athletic tape to reduce movement and promote healing)

If conservative, non-invasive methods fail to improve the condition, other treatments for plantar fasciitis include: 

  • Steroid injections for pain, though the effects usually only last a few weeks
  • Walking cast 
  • Shockwave therapy, which involves using a special probe to generate sound waves that provide a burst of energy to the sole of the foot. This method is still unproven and requires more study. 

Surgery for plantar fasciitis is usually a last resort

  • Only recommended when all other treatments have failed and symptoms have persisted for at least 6 to 12 months
  • Surgery involves detaching the plantar fascia from the heel bone
  • Surgical release of the plantar fascia has a 70-90% success rate in treating plantar fasciitis 

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Medscape Medical Reference