Years of foot pain and PT, considering plantar fasciitis surgery

by Shier

I first had pain in my left arch and metatarsal area in fall 2006, when I was 46yo. My son had entered daycare f/t in the summer so I was spending a lot more time on the computer (working at home). I was shopping one day, wearing a flat loafer-mule shoe, and noticed the sharp pain in my arch. Got in quickly to my first podiatrist, who told me it wasn't arthritis. No x-rays. He recommended good athletic shoes, so I bought New Balance.

A few months later, I asked for a script for orthotics and had some made. I was happy with them. I did some stretching, but not religiously. Couldn't tolerate ice. Tried several NSAIDS, including rx. Per dr's orders, I stopped going barefoot.

The problem was manageable until 2010. Again had a period of a few months with lots of computer work and no exercise (graduate school). When school was out, I was determined to make up for the slack, so I began walking 1 hour/day. I did this about 2 weeks and then began noticing some pain. It kept getting worse.

Finally I was having to keep my feet on frozen gel packs. The podiatrist fit me for new orthotics, but these mail-order kind were no good, so I went back to my old place and got a new pair. It took all summer to get a new pair of New Balance that fit right and new orthotics, so my PT really couldn't do anything to help.

Spring 2011 began seeing a new podiatrist recommended by friends. She mentioned surgery, which scared me, because I'd heard of someone who'd had the surgery and was worse off afterwards. I asked for a shot, and she thought it wasn't the best option for me. Ordered more orthotics. Again, no good. She used to tape my feet, which did help.

I went back to my old orthotist, who at least will keep working until we get the pair right.

Spring 2012 the pain changed. Suddenly had searing, hot pain between the outer two toes of left foot. Not so much arch pain. Finally had x-ray, which showed a large spur on left heel, parallel to floor. (Not pointing down into floor.) Finally she gave me shots. I had 2, about 4 weeks apart. Lots of Physical Therapy with graston technique.

Also had massage therapy, which was probably the most effective. My massage therapist really worked hard on my calves, and I felt better than I had in 4 years.

Also got new orthotics, with a design to take pressure off the 4th toe joint. I went to a workshop in NYC in June 2012 and walked 4 hours/day. I was using Pennsaid and
a compounded pain ointment a little, but not a great deal.

July 2012 lots of pain, mostly around the outer edge of left foot.

Eventually the pain began to subside. But recently when I was stretching my foot I noticed it seemed very tight. My PT says she has done everything she can. She poked really hard and now it hurts a lot. She's encouraging me to look into the surgery.


Joshua Answers:

Hi Shier.

Foot pain is no fun. Sorry you're experiencing all that.

And I'm sorry all your trips to the doctor didn't do anything beneficial for you.

There's a reason that that massage on the calves did the most good (if only temporarily). As a general statement, all your foot pain is caused by issue up in the back of the lower leg.

Doctors remain blissfully ignorant of this, for some mind-boggling reason.

Focusing on the location of the symptoms is fine if you got shot by a gun, but it's not fine if you have Plantar Fasciitis and/or a Bone Spur.

Bone spurs and foot pain are created. They don't just magically show up out of the blue for no reason, as doctors would have you believe.

That's why Plantar Fasciitis Surgery 'fails' so often. Not only does it damage the structural support of the foot, but it totally ignores the causes of Plantar Fasciitis Symptoms.

It's sort of the same with Physical Therapy. They have a set number of tools in their toolbox. And if their tool box can't fix your problem, they can't help (which ultimately is true of every profession).

The trick is, does the person you're working with have the right tools to fix your problem?

So, some questions:

1. Did you get surgery since you wrote this?

2. What does 'I can't tolerate ice' mean?

3. Overall description of body shape/size.

4. Overall description of dietary intake the last several years.

5. What exactly did the massage therapist do?

6. What exactly did the Physical Therapist do?

Please reply using the comment link below. Do not submit a new submission to answer/reply, it's too hard for me to find where it's supposed to go.

And, comments have a 3,000 character limit so you may have to comment twice.

Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert

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Comments for Years of foot pain and PT, considering plantar fasciitis surgery

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Sep 10, 2018
Considering Surgery
by: Kelvin C

I have had PF on both feet for about 9 months, the right worse than the left and recently the left has caught up...

I do not have the sharp pain in the morning but I could barely walk or stand. This was caused by running with improper shoes and I insisted even feeling painful.

I have tried all sorts of methods and had an injection on my right foot in August. The shot has gone now and the pain resurfaces.

I am feeling painful and losing my lift.

My doctor said the surgery would at least do good for some years but I have read so many articles about the terrible stories of surgery...Should I try?


Joshua Comments:

Hi Kelvin.

Read this thread, and definitely check out the Quiz Your Doctor link (and the page it goes to).

See Related:

Oct 24, 2016
Post plantar fascia release surgery awake
by: Anonymous

After a full year has passed, I have more issues than you could possibly imagine.

I have had blood work done, more X-ray's and it seems my issues are more than just fasicaitous.

I am waiting on blood work to come back however the plantar fascias on left foot need to be released as well. I just don't know that I can go through that pain again awake because I have neuropathy in both feet. The needles straight into the bottom of my foot was more than I could bare. Good luck everyone.

Sep 29, 2016
more pain after 8 months recovery from plantar fasciitis surgery
by: Angela

I have dealt with plantar fasciitis for ten years and decided that i had enough! I had already been through the therapy, anti inflammatory medications, exercises, name i did it.

So i make an appointment with a new dr and tell him how i will not go through the steps of this process because i already knew nothing was going to work.

He mentioned surgery as an option so we did it....AWAKE.

But first he says, let's take off your toe nails because it seems you continue to have problems with those. That's a totally different story but think of the shots directly into the bottom of my foot brought me back to the three shots in every toe while also being awake for both feet at the same time.

I work retail so I'm on my feet ALL day. After 8 months of recovering from fascia surgery, i have more pain than i ever had and i really don't know what else to do.

It seems my tendons on the top of my foot hurts so badly that i can't spread my toes. Dr says i need an ankle replacement soon but my foot hurts worse than my ankle does and it needs replaced???

I wish after ten different doctors i had some answers.

The only answer i do have is...if you are looking to get surgery for fasciitis please reconsider.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Angela.

Awake surgery? Ouch.

I also wish that after ten different doctors you met one that had the answers.

But the proof is in the pudding....doctors don't have the answers to a tendonitis issue like Plantar Fasciitis.

There's a reason you were hurting for 8 years.

There's a reason that surgery didn't fix it.

** Part of the reason surgery didn't fix it is because surgery ignores all the causes of plantar fascia pain and problem.

Thanks for sharing your experience. I'm sorry it's been a not great one so far.

What have you been doing for post-surgery self care?

Jun 30, 2016
2nd response to Questions
by: Kristy


Firstly you are giving me so much more information than my doctors and surgeon did, thank you.

1) I'm pretty sure the bone spur was at the bottom of the calcaneus near where the plantar fascia connects to the bone.

2) The pain is different than pre surgery and I do feel that it is more directly under my foot at the pad of the heel, although I often get sharp pain up the inside of my foot, which I thought could be some sort of nerve damage as I know the surgical cut is through the nerves.

3) Complete plantar fascia release.

I'm enjoying reading through the info you have provided it is giving me more insight into why I may still be in some pain, I felt like my surgeon didn't think it was such a big deal and I should be all ok.


Joshua Comments:

You're welcome Kristy. My pleasure.

Well...if you're stepping on the unhappy bone bruise with every step, just that can be problematic and not surprising that you are still in pain 4 months later.

Totally severing the plantar fascia removes the structural integrity it used to provide to the foot, so the entire ecology of your foot and lower leg is changed and has to adapt.

I'd be curious to see what learning How To Reduce Inflammation and going crazy with that for a couple weeks would do for you.

Jun 30, 2016
Response From Kristy to questions
by: Kristy

Hi Joshua,

Thank you for your feedback, to answer your questions:

1) Keyhole day surgery I was completely under for the operation

2) I was told it was a large heel spur

3) Surgery was Plantar Fascia release and heel spur removal

4) I can walk and I am starting to do more weight bearing exercise so I am not completely non weight bearing. But I do still experience pain and limping for periods of time often daily.

I will certainly have a look at the link you have provided I am keen to get back to my 'former glory'



Joshua Comments:

Hi Kristy.

Ok good you can walk and do some weight-bearing. That's better than not (obviously).

I forgot to add in the link for Bone Spur.

Removal of which essentially creates a Bone Bruise.

The bigger the area of bone cut on, the more/longer that's going to hurt.

1. Where was the bone spur?

2. Do you feel like it's the bone spur that hurts, or elsewhere in the foot?

3. Complete or partial release of the Plantar Fascia?

Jun 30, 2016
Plantar fascia surgery gone wrong, now in walking braces
by: Bradley

I had plantar fascia for about 2 months. I saw my podiatrist on Dec 11 2014 he told me I needed bilateral plantar fascia release surgery.

He told me to take a week off from work and after the surgery I would be 95% better.

The surgery was on Jan 2 2015. For the first three weeks I had to crawl on my hands and knees I could not put any weight at all on feet.

I went back to the surgeon several times over the next 3 months and he said everything was fine it was just taking longer to heal.

I am a State Trooper and could not return to work. In March I drove three hours to one of the best orthopedic doctors the Midwest. He examined my feet and after just feeling the bottom of my feet he said the surgeon completely severed my plantar fascia in both feet and he would not be able to fix it. He immediately put me in walking boot braces.

This was confirmed with an MRI. I am in constant pain. The MRI shows that the bones in my feet are inflamed. I am allergic to NSAIDs and as of 6-16-2016 I have been unable to return to work.

I am trying acupuncture now. I want to not be on pain meds the rest of my life and I would like to return to work.


Joshua Comments

Hi Bradley.

You didn't leave an email or check the notification box, so I hope you find this.

And I'm putting this in this thread as an example of what to be aware of when considering plantar fasciitis surgery.

It's very important to know what exactly the surgeon is going to do, and WHY hes going to do it.

Is a complete severance of the plantar fascia a smart idea? How? Why?

Here are some pre-surgery questions to ask your doctor. Quiz Your Doctor

Jun 30, 2016
4 months after plantar fasciitis surgery still in pain
by: Kristy

After over 18 months of moon boot, shockwave therapy, blood injections & cortisone injections finally had surgery for plantar fascitis including removing a heel spur.

The surgery itself was relatively non invasive but its 4 months on & I'm still experiencing pain, though maybe not in as long periods as pre surgery but still chronic pain.

Icing & pain killers do not work and I am still limping daily & forget doing weight bearing exercise.

Am I expecting too much? Is 4 months ample recovery or should I hold out hope for a better recovery as more time passes?


Joshua Comments:

Hi Kristy.

1. How invasive was the surgery?

2. You said they took off a heel spur? Big or small? Either way, bone damage is pretty 'invasive'....trauma-wise to the body, even if it's just under the surface of the skin.

3. So what exactly was done during the foot surgery?

4. Regardless of those answers, if you're still hurting and non-weight bearing 4 months later, that's not good.

5. And, surgery doesn't beneficially effect any of the -causes- of the 'need' for surgery.

So the tightness (now increased), inflammation (now increased) and nutritional lack (now increased) is still in play and causing negative effect.

AND there's whatever potential downsides from the surgery. If the surgery partially or totally severed one or more of the structural supports of your foot....hopefully you can recover from that.

But you definitely need to deal with the first three factors I listed above, period. And, you may need to deal effectively with those so that your body can make the necessary adjustments to the alterations caused by surgery as best it can.

Ice packs? Not super effective.

You need to get to work rehabbing your body as effectively as possible so I'm ultimately going to point you towards getting started with The Plantar Fasciitis Treatment That Works program. Having said that, answer the questions above.

Feb 04, 2013
Foot surgery led to chronic repetitive pain syndrome
by: Anonymous

Before you decide on surgery please have second opinion with orthopedic who is specialize in foot. Consider 10x before you go under surgery. After I had PF surgery it became RSD/ CRPS who pain is lot worse.

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