ACL injury, treatment & reconstruction

Plantar Fasciitis Treatment Adelaide

Dr Hutchinson has a special interest in the treatment of plantar fasciitis. He performs endoscopic (keyhole) plantar facia release surgery for some of the best athletes in Australia, including professionals in the AFL, AFLW, SANFL, NBL and Superleague Netball. He offers the same very high level of care to weekend warriors and everyday patients of all ages as he does to those currently competing at the highest level.

The comprehensive educational video below has been created for you by Dr Hutchinson. It will provide you with up-to-date information about plantar fasciitis treatment, no matter what your age, occupation, hobbies or other activities that you enjoy. Written plantar fasciitis education (in PDF format) is also available to download.

Education Video Content on Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis – Everything you need to know

Plantar fasciitis (plantar heel pain) can make you feel absolutely miserable! It’s such a small area of pain, but it can have a huge impact upon your quality of life.

What is the Plantar Fascia?

The plantar fascia is a thick, strong ligament that is like a bowstring spanning the bottom of your foot.  It lies just a few millimetres beneath the skin. It’s attached to the bottom of your heel bone, then spreads out across the arch of your foot, and connects into the base of your toe bones.

A bit like the cables on a suspension bridge, the main job of the plantar fascia is to support the arch of your foot.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis (plantar heel pain), occurs when the plantar fascia attachment to the heel bone degenerates, and becomes thickened and painful. This is usually caused by repetitive strain in this area, such as spending long periods of time on your feet or various sporting activities. The overall shape of your foot, body weight and other medical conditions also play a role.

Dr Matthew Hutchinson treats a patient with Plantar Fasciitis

Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis

The most common symptom of plantar fasciitis is severe pain underneath your heel. The pain may also radiate into the arch of your foot. Classically, the pain is worse in the morning, and it can feel like you are walking on a piece of glass. In severe cases, pain can be excruciating and limits many daily activities.

Cortisone for Plantar Fasciitis

If you’re not improving with non-operative strategies, then an ultra-sound-guided cortisone injection can be helpful. Sometimes after a cortisone injection, and appropriate rehabilitation, plantar fasciitis can completely resolve.

But even if the injection only helps you for a short period of time, it is an important diagnostic process to go through – it helps us confirm what the location of your pain is.

Some patients can be a little worried about having a cortisone injection. But if it’s performed by an experienced doctor it is minimally painful and very safe.

Surgery for Plantar Fasciitis

If your symptoms do not improve with non-operative management, then key-hole surgery of the plantar fascia is an extremely effective option. This takes place as a day-surgery, under general anaesthesia, so you will be asleep.

Two very small, key-hole incisions are made on either side of your foot. These are about 3-5mm in size. A small camera is inserted, and we visualise the under-surface of the plantar fascia and release it. Not all of the plantar fascia is released, just the degenerative area that is thickened and painful. This prevents the plantar fascia from pulling on the heel bone and causing that horrible pain.

The released plantar fascia will stretch out a few millimetres, and heal in this elongated position, thus reducing the tension and pain on the heel bone. Think of the plantar fascia as being a bit like a bow-string, and surgery is releasing this tension.

Recovery from Plantar Fasciitis Surgery

I recommend my patients see an experienced sports podiatrist after surgery to start early rehabilitation. This helps strengthen the feet, aid in a quick recovery, and return to pain-free exercise. 

Most patients will require the use of crutches for a few days after surgery, but you are allowed to gently put your foot on the ground and walk as soon as this is comfortable.

The debilitating heel pain resolves very quickly, usually within a few days of surgery. It will literally feel like someone has taken a pebble out of your shoe. But you will have surgical pain and swelling that continues for a minimum of 6 weeks.

For most patients I recommend 2 weeks completely off work after surgery. If you have a desk-based job you might be able to return to work within 1-2 weeks.  If your job involves long periods of time standing on your feet, then a return would be 2-4 weeks, but you will need to work shorter shifts, or reduce the hours on your feet. By 6 weeks, the majority of patients have returned to full duties.

For sportspeople, gentle jogging can usually occur from 4 weeks after surgery, depending on your progress. A return to full sports is between 8-12 weeks. Professional athletes often return to sports more quickly than weekend warriors, due to their baseline level of fitness and conditioning.

Should I have Surgery for Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fascia surgery should only be considered if a period of non-operative management has failed.

Like all surgery there are some small risks involved. Your surgeon will be able to talk to you about all these risks in more detail. But there is a small risk of infection, and irritation to sensory nerves of the skin.

Key-hole plantar fascia surgery has been a genuine game changer for patients. It’s far less invasive than traditional open methods of surgery and has a much quicker recovery. It’s also a successful procedure, with the vast majority of patients reporting excellent results.

Plantar Fasciitis Treatment Adelaide

Dr Matthew Hutchinson is an Australian and internationally trained orthopaedic surgeon who treats both Adults and Growing Athletes with hip, knee and ankle conditions. Based in Adelaide, Dr Matthew Hutchinson is an expert in plantar fasciitis.

Dr Hutchinson completed his medical degree at The University of Adelaide, and his orthopaedic surgery training at various hospitals in South Australia. He has also worked and trained at some of the most prestigious hospitals and universities in the world, during his clinical fellowships and advanced training in North America and Europe.

Dr Matthew Hutchinson now consults at a range of locations, including SportsMed Adelaide (Stepney), Mildura & Goolwa.

Dr Matthew Hutchinson Plantar Fasciitis Treatment Adelaide

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