Plantar fasciitis is a common foot condition that causes symptoms such as severe heel pain when first stepping out of bed or after a period of rest. It occurs when the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes, becomes inflamed. While plantar fasciitis can often be effectively treated with non-surgical methods, there are situations where surgery may be necessary. Our skilled podiatrist at Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists can determine whether surgery is needed for your condition and what other treatment options you may want to consider. Surgery for plantar fasciitis

When Surgery Is Necessary for Plantar Fasciitis

Surgery for plantar fasciitis is typically considered when conservative, non-surgical treatments have failed to provide relief over an extended period. Some reasons why surgery might be recommended include:

Severe or Chronic Pain

If the pain from plantar fasciitis is severe and persistent, affecting your daily activities and quality of life, surgery may be considered as a last resort. This could be especially true for individuals who have tried various non-invasive treatments without success.

Structural Issues

In some cases, plantar fasciitis may be related to structural issues in the foot, such as bone spurs or a tight Achilles tendon. Surgery may be necessary to correct these underlying problems and relieve the pressure on the plantar fascia.

Tissue Damage

If the plantar fascia is severely damaged, torn, or scarred, surgical intervention may be required to repair or release the damaged tissue. This is typically done through a procedure called plantar fascia release.

Sports Recovery

Athletes who rely on their feet for their livelihood may opt for surgery to expedite their return to peak performance. Surgery can be a viable option for athletes who cannot afford an extended recovery period and have access to advanced medical care.

Conservative Treatment Options for Plantar Fasciitis

Before considering surgery, individuals with plantar fasciitis should explore various non-invasive treatment options. These methods can often alleviate symptoms and promote healing. Some of the most common non-surgical treatments for plantar fasciitis include:

Rest and Activity Modification

Reducing or modifying activities that exacerbate the condition can provide relief. Rest allows the damaged tissue to heal and helps alleviate strain on the plantar fascia.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapists can recommend exercises to strengthen the muscles in the foot and calf, improving flexibility and reducing strain on the plantar fascia.

Custom Orthotics

Your podiatrist may recommend wearing custom orthotics inside your shoes to minimize heel pain. By providing arch support and cushioning, orthotics can help reduce pressure on the plantar fascia.

Night Splints

Wearing night splints can help keep the plantar fascia stretched overnight, reducing morning heel pain.

Anti-Inflammatory Medications

Non-prescription anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen can help reduce pain and inflammation, but they are usually recommended for short-term use.

Perinatal Tissue Injections

Perinatal tissue injections, in contrast to cortisone injections that primarily ease pain and swelling, actively promote expedited tissue healing. These injections address both the symptoms and the underlying cause of the issue, all without relying on medications or surgical intervention.

MLS Laser Therapy

MLS laser therapy is a non-invasive procedure that can be done by Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists. This therapy uses light waves to stimulate healing of the plantar fascia.

Lifestyle Modifications

Lifestyle modifications, such as maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding prolonged standing or walking on hard surfaces, and not wearing high-heeled shoes, can help prevent and manage plantar fasciitis.

Recovering From Plantar Fasciitis Surgery

If you need surgery for plantar fasciitis, the recovery process can vary depending on the specific procedure and individual factors. However, here is a general overview of what to expect:

Post-Operative Pain

It's common to experience some pain and discomfort immediately after surgery. Your surgeon may prescribe pain medication to help manage this pain.


In some cases, a cast or a walking boot may be used to immobilize the foot and protect the surgical site during the initial phase of recovery.

Physical Therapy

After the initial healing period, physical therapy is often recommended to help regain strength and flexibility in the foot and ankle. Your physical therapist will guide you through exercises and stretches to aid in your recovery.

Gradual Return to Activity

It's crucial to follow your podiatrist's advice and gradually ease back into activities. Rushing the recovery process can lead to complications or a recurrence of plantar fasciitis.

Monitoring Progress

Your Austin podiatrist will schedule follow-up appointments to assess your progress and make necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.

Possible Complications

Like any surgery, there can be risks of complications with plantar fasciitis surgery, such as:

  • Infection at the surgical site
  • Nerve damage
  • Delayed wound healing
  • Development of scar tissue
  • Persistent pain or stiffness
Craig Thomajan
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Austin Podiatrist