Plantar fasciitis surgery detaches the fascia from the heel bone. This relieves tension built-up from damage to the muscle. People can usually bear weight on the foot within 2–3 weeks of the procedure and fully recover within 2 months.

Plantar fasciitis is a common condition that causes recurring pain in the heel. The plantar fascia is a shock-absorbing band of muscle that stretches across the base of the foot, supporting the arch. A person has plantar fasciitis when this band becomes damaged and inflamed. This causes pain during movement, such as running or walking.

Approximately 2 million people per year seek treatment for this condition. If a person still experiences pain in their foot after other treatments, they may need surgery.

This article provides an overview of plantar fasciitis surgery, including the goals of the procedure and recovery.

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Design by MNT; Photography by Kittima Krammart/EyeEm/Getty Images & Sam Edwards/Getty Images

The plantar fascia is the ligament that connects the heel to the front of the foot. When irritated, it can make walking difficult and painful.

A person may be a candidate for surgery after 12 months of intensive nonsurgical treatment that has not effectively treated the pain.

A plantar fasciotomy, or plantar fascia release, is a procedure that detaches the fascia from the heel bone. This relieves tension built-up from damage to the muscle. Depending on the type of procedure, it may only require local anesthesia.

After the surgery, the connective tissue in the area begins to regrow. This can allow the fascia to lengthen, reducing or even eliminating pain.

The surgery is likely to be much less painful than having plantar fasciitis, and a person should be able to bear weight on the foot 2–3 weeks after the procedure.

A person may be able to have the surgery if they:

  • have severe foot pain despite intensive treatments
  • experience symptoms lasting more than 12 months
  • find walking difficult
  • cannot

Most people do not require surgery. Around 9 out of 10 people with plantar fasciitis improve their condition without surgery. Stretching, exercising, and massaging the foot can improve muscle strength and flexibility.

If a person has any of the following conditions, they are at a higher risk of developing complications or side effects from the surgery:

A healthcare professional will assess a person’s medical history when deciding the right treatment and the right type of plantar fascia surgery.

Learn about the best stretches and exercises for plantar fasciitis.

People with chronic foot pain find it difficult to walk or stand. If left untreated, this can alter the way a person walks. This can lead to other issues with the feet, back, and knees.

Before surgery, a healthcare professional will suggest noninvasive treatments. These can include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): These reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Orthotics: These are structured shoes that can support the arch, reducing inflammation and pain.
  • Splint: Splints can stretch the surrounding muscles, reducing pain.

Surgery aims to reduce pain and inflammation in the foot, improving foot mobility. Overall, surgeries to release the plantar fascia have success rates of 70–90%.

There are two ways a person can receive plantar fasciotomy: open surgery or endoscopic surgery.

Before surgery:

  • a person must not drink fluid or eat after midnight before the procedure
  • an individual must follow doctors’ instructions regarding any existing medications
  • a doctor will check the person’s vital signs, such as heart rate and blood pressure
  • a healthcare professional will use antiseptic to prepare the foot

During surgery:

  • Open surgery: Typically, a person will have general anesthesia before open surgery. A surgeon makes a small incision to expose the plantar fascia ligament and detach it from the heel bone.
  • Endoscopic surgery: This involves a local anesthetic or mild sedative. During endoscopic surgery, a surgeon makes two small incisions by the ankle bone, which are less than half an inch long. Then they place a small camera, an endoscope, in one opening and a small knife in another to release the plantar ligament.

Typically, both surgeries are outpatient procedures, with a person able to leave on the same day. However, they should not drive afterward.


A healthcare professional will create a plan specific to the person’s medical requirements.

Discomfort for the first few days after the procedure is typical. A doctor may prescribe pain relief, or over-the-counter medication can help if a doctor approves.

A healthcare professional may recommend exercises to encourage regaining strength in the foot, often with a physical therapist.

Full recovery from an open plantar fasciotomy should take around 2 months, and less for an endoscopic procedure.

Partial weight bearing with crutches is allowed immediately if the person can tolerate it. Full weight bearing is permitted once the wound has healed, and stretching exercises are advisable from this point.

Learn about the benefits of physical therapy.

As with all surgical procedures, plantar fasciitis surgery carries risks, including:

  • infection
  • injury to nerves in the foot, such as entrapment
  • slow wound healing, especially if a person has diabetes
  • recurring heel pain
  • adverse reaction to general anesthesia

A general anesthetic is unnecessary for an endoscopic procedure. However, some of the same risks are still present.

A person concerned about their health after a procedure should contact a doctor.

Most people who have plantar fasciitis surgery experience decreased pain and improved foot mobility.

A small 2018 study found only 4% of participants who had the surgery experienced complications afterward, and 73% were satisfied with the outcome. However, 44% of participants reported ongoing swelling and tenderness up to 10 years postoperatively.

For people living with chronic plantar fasciitis, surgery is an effective option to help alleviate symptoms.

Only people who have tried noninvasive treatment options for 12 months without improvements in their symptoms can have the procedure. The surgery involves the release of the ligament to relieve built-up tension in the foot.

A person should discuss their medical history with a doctor to determine if they can safely undergo the procedure.

People usually fully recover within 2 months. People can perform exercises to improve recovery and strengthen the foot.