About Heel Pain SurgeryWhat treatment options are there?
Surgery is an option that should be considered only after several conservative treatments have been used. Much of the time, those conservative options will work. People that have been through that process and still experience pain will be happy to know that there are other more aggressive options for their treatment. Each treatment has different risks associated with it. There are two different types of surgical options available to patients diagnosed with plantar fasciitis.
What are the types of invasive surgical treatments?
Invasive surgery is the more traditional scalpel based treatments. A cut is made on the base of the foot to allow the doctor access to the affected area. A large incision is made to the base of the foot and the affected area is treated. This method is still used by surgeons in certain situations.
Endoscopic plantar fasciotomy (EPF) is a newer option first performed in 1991. It involves either one or two half inch incisions made on on the side of the foot. A plastic tube is inserted into the incision. The tube is used to keep the area open so that a small camera and scalpel may be inserted into the area. Under direct vision the surgeon cuts a portion of the planter fascia from the heel. Hopefully, the cut relieves the pressure and reduces pain in the affected area. The patient's body also hopefully adapts to the release surgery by growing new fascia material in the gap created by the incision.
The procedure is performed in less than an hour and does not require a hospital stay. After surgery, patients must wear special shoes and may be capable of returning to regular shoes 3-5 days after the surgery. After a week, most patients are able to return to work. After 3 weeks, the patients may be able to return to their normal activities. As with any surgery, patients heal at different rates and too different degrees.
Heel spur removal surgery is another invasive surgical option. While this procedure is common, there is a great deal of controversy involving this procedure. Several sources suggest this procedure gets mixed results. Some doctors believe that the spur is merely a symptom of the inflammation of the area and that the spur will eventually reappear if the fascia is not corrected.
What are the non-invasive surgical options?
Electro Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWT) is the most common non-invasive surgical option. A focused energy wave is directed at the affected area. The energy wave disrupts the fascia tissue without requiring a surgical incision. If the ESWT machine can generate enough power, there may only need to be one treatment. Some of the lower power units require multiple treatments. The difference comes from how the machines are built and how they generate their power. ESWT treatments take a little more than 12 minutes for the actual treatment. The patient will most likely be in the medical facility for less that 3 hours. Most patients are able to return to work the next day. It is advised that these patients rest their feet as much as possible particularly in the first 3 week period. It is only during rest that the body can actually heal itself.