Update on Greg's Endoscopic Plantar Fasciotomy Surgery for Plantar Fasciitis

Guest Article by Greg Bailey
July 24, 2003

          My recovery is going a little slower than I expected.

  I am five weeks now from the surgery and I still have some minor discomfort in the morning. I wear the protective boot rarely now, trying to get the foot use to "normal" walking and activity. The doctor told me last week that I should start exercising, so I have taken up walking and running in the pool, 3.5 feet to the 4.5 foot area, turn around and do it again. I have been doing this for about 20-30 minutes, a few days a week. The exercise makes the foot feel much better. In the water, you are forced to walk on your toes, so it really stretches out the foot. I am on my foot almost all day now and have NO discomfort during the day. This is very different than I had experienced for the past 18 months. Before the surgery, I was disabled by 1:00 or 2:00 p.m.

  My doctor said that the foot is the most difficult part of a body to heal up after surgery. He said that this is the only part of your body that you put weight on in an incision area. It takes some, a long time to get over feeling a soreness in the heel area.

  I bought new walking shoes and cross training shoes, which I wear with my orthotics.

  My condition was chronic. I had the problem for 18 months before surgery. Because I waited so long to correct the problem, I have developed an erratic or altered walking behavior and have now developed a sore left ankle. The doctor said that this is normal, the body trying to protect itself from further injury. He assures me that over time, I will learn to walk correctly and believes that the ankle pain should subside.

  The only thing I have as a result of surgery is a slight tingling in the sole of my foot and sporadic, sharp pain that quickly goes away, at the surgery incision site. The doctor says that this is nerves reattaching and is normal.

  I am extremely pleased with my physician, Doctor Mike Vaardahl of the Foot and Ankle Center, Greeley, Colorado. Dr. Mike is young, but very knowledgeable and caring. He answers all my phone calls promptly and takes more than enough time with me in the office, contrary to many doctors in this day. My insurance paid about $6500.00 for the whole thing.

  It is amazing the number of people I have talked with about this painful and disabling condition. It is also amazing to me how many just figure it is arthritis or something they just have to live with. I would encourage everyone with the symptoms of plantar fasciitis
to promptly see a podiatrist and follow the doctor's recommendations. If your doctor keeps putting you in night splints, orthotics, the Strassburg sock and the like, get a second opinion within a month to 6 weeks. The longer you go with this condition, the harder it is to fix. Don't be put off with comments that you should lose weight or your shoes are bad. The truth is, more athletes, especially runners and basketball players, have this condition than anyone else. The condition is caused most likely from an injury to the heel and not anything like being overweight. Just go get it taken care of and get on with your life!

  That's it from Greeley, Colorado!  102 degrees today. Finally cooled off a little. Had a 108 degree day last week.

NOTE:  Being overweight does not cause plantar fasciitis, and thin people do get it, too.  However, excessive weight does put additional strain on the plantar fascia, and losing weight does relieve some pain.  That does not mean the plantar fasciitis doesn't need to be treated, though.

Also, the plantar fascia is the part of the foot that is injured and inflamed, not the heel itself.  But we feel the pain in the heel.

To read the first and third installments of Greg's notes on his recovery, click here and here.

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