Endoscopic Plantar Fasciotomy (EPF) is a common procedure performed to provide relief for chronic plantar fasciitis. Patients experiencing chronic pain describe it as a stabbing pain that occurs when they take their first steps of the day. Many patients can attain relief from pain using less intrusive methods; only about 3-5% of patients resort to surgery when other methods have failed to provide relief. Surgery tends to provide relief for up to 90% of patients treated.
The plantar fasciitis is the connective tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes. When inflamed, this area can cause severe pain upon standing and taking steps. Runners and overweight patients are more likely to develop this condition.
Endoscopic plantar fasciotomy is a relatively quick and minimally invasive procedure involving the insertion of a blade to make small incisions. The small cut relieves an area of tension, lengthening the tissue. The incision is closed with a few stitches and no material is implanted during the procedure. Sedation and local anesthesia are normal protocols. In as little as three to six weeks, most patients are able to walk normally with shoes.
For the first few weeks following the procedure, the patient should avoid applying weight to the operated foot. Depending on the health of the patient, the patient may use crutches or a wheelchair to get around during this time period. In the third week, the patient may wear a walking boot while still limiting activity for the following month.
Non-Invasive Treatments Prior to recommending surgery, your physician may try any of the following:
Most patients do experience relief from more conservative methods within a few weeks. To prevent the worsening of heel pain, patients may be advised to wear quality, cushioned athletic shoes when participating in aerobic activities and, if prone to heel pain, they may want to consider a less impactful physical activity.