plantar fasciitis and gastrocnemius recession - My experience + Surgery

Posted , 6 users are following.

Hi All,

There's so much discussion about plantar fasciitis that I thought I would add my opinion.

I dealt with the pain in both feet for two year - shoes - inserts etc.  As a martial artist I tried to stretch over and over again. I was in pain all day long, but mornings was the worst. I took a trip to Washington DC in October 2017 and that was the clincher.

Finally in October 2017,  I sought treatment.  I had the shots and physical therapy.  By January 2018 i was mostly pain free.  Despite the constant stretching and karate, in March 2018, the pain was back with a vengeance in my right foot. 

Back to the doctor for another shot, but the Dr. ordered an MRI instead.  The weekend before the appt to review the test, i started having pain in my Achilles tendon.  The MRI showed multiple tears in the plantar fasciitis and surgery was scheduled.  Because of the new pain in the Achilles tendon, we decided to do the gastroncnemius procedure as well.

Like most people i read everything on the procedure and was beginning to have  doubts.  The problem with the net is everyone is always willing to post negative comments and the success stories not so much.

I had the procedure on April 15, 2018.  I was in the surgery center for only a few hours.  I think the procedures took less than 20-25 minutes.  I was sent home in a walking boot with crutches.

Day 1 - I have a very high tolerance for pain - probably because of the karate.  I took one Oxycontin as the gastrocnemius was causing the most pain.  the plantar faciitisomy  was barely noticeable. Lots of ice and Motrin

Day 2 - I took another Oxycontin and lot's of Motrin and icing.

Day 3 - 10  I stopped the Oxycontin and kept up with the Icing and Motrin.  By day 10 I no longer needed both crutches.  One was fine.  I progressively, as recommended by the Dr, increased the weight on my foot.

Day 14 - Ditched the boot for a sketcher shoe and the one crutch. took steps one at a time and started PT.

Day 21 - stitches removed and used a cane.  I could walk short distances without a cane.

Between day 21 and June 30, i was diligent about my PT.  I was walking 3/4 to a mile everyday by the middle of June walked two miles.

I never really had any pain in the heel again. It's all in the calf below the incision.  It's June 30, and i can still feel it when i stretch and do my PT at home.  I've sprinted 40 yards with no pain, but the therapist said to hold off until i don't feel the tightness in my calf.

I've been walking around in bare feet for the past month.  Do I feel tightness in the am?  yes, sometimes, but it works itself out after a minute.

Yesterday was my last day of physical therapy.  They were really impressed in how fast i progressed, but that's what happens when you do your PT every day, sometimes three times a day.  It will be another 3-4 months before that tightness goes away, but I plan on starting back my Karate in two weeks. 

You read a lot about inserts and this type of shoe and that type of shoe. I've come to realize that all that does is treat the symptoms, and not the problem. 

I am so glad I had the procedures.  I thought i could never walk around in bare feet again.  For me the shot was all i needed in the left foot and the surgery in the other.

My experience was positive and if the other foot ever causes me problems, i would not hesitate having the surgery.  But, i cannot understate the importance of PT.


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16 Replies

  • Posted



    So glad to hear you have had some good results!  Very encouraging, thanks for taking the time to share your story.  I have been 3 years of dealing with PF in both feet  & no success with various inserts, stretches, etc. I am now experiencing numbness in my feet, & may have arthritis.  For 6 weeks I went to PT, & it made me hurt worse.  She used a scrapper thing on my arch area & top of big toes, & it was torture., pure torture!  I did a series of stretches they recommended, it helped some. But I stopped PT, frustrated.  It really increased all the pain!  Please tell me about the PT you had, the specifics. But this was after your surgery, right? 

    In August I have an appt. with an Orthopedic doctor & plan of getting an MRI.  Think I'm dealing with arthritis along with PF, so I really want to understand where it is all coming from. Hoping the MRI will give me some answers, so I can find a treatment. I'm open to surgery...


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    • Posted

      This is only non-medical advice....

      I had PT pre and post surgery.   I had the pain in both feet.  I had the shots in November 2017.  From there the PT was calf  stretches using the wall - hold the stretch for 20 secs - 10 reps.  I would also use the steps.  ball of the foot on the steps allowing my heals to hang over the riser . .  then i would go up on the balls and the down so me heels were below the step. hold in the upright and down position for 3 - 4 seconds - 25 times

      I used an elastic band that I would place over the ball of my feet and then do foot push ups holding each position a few seconds - rep 20 times. .  Ankle circles both directions and foot pumps - 20x each direction.  Foot Scrunches - Place a towel on the floor and then try to curl your toes and grab as much as you can - hold for 3 secs - 20x . They would also have me balance on one foot 20 secs 5 reps

      all of this was 3x daily

      When I first wake up i do the circles, pumps, and scrunches in bed.  

      After PT at home, I would use ice and Motrin.  I was told if you feel too much pain, back off on the stretching. If the pain did not go away after 20 min then I took a couple of motrin.

      While I'm not a doctor or PTist, i would go easy until you have your MRI.  I had multiple tears in the right foot, so PT and shots just weren't going to do it.

      Post surgery, i had different PT all designed to re-strengthen the muscle.  It's like going from being able to support your whole body to nothing at all.  

      The PTs were mostly in disbelief in how fast I progressed. This was because i was diligent in my PT.  I did them every chance i could 5-6 or more times a day.  I did not do the full counts.  Sometimes i would do it just a few, but i would always back off when the pain got to be too much.  You can do your PT in so many different places.  In the kitchen i would drop the foot back and get a stretch.  While driving, i would put the car in cruise control and work the ankle.  I stretch in the shower with the hot water.  You've got to stretch, stretch, stretch.  Even sitting you can always use a tennis ball on the arch of the foot.  Just remember to back off if it hurts.

      I'm having the scrapper.  I think it's called the gastron technique on my shoulder.  Hope it works.  Feel like i have a torn rotator cuff. 


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  • Posted

    Sorry for the confusion.  I did my PT at least three times a day, sometimes i would do them every chance i got, even if it was only for a few minutes. 
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  • Posted

    Thanks for your testimony. Im one week out of of surgery and gastroc release. Fought this for 5 years now. Shots stretches meds Pt nothing worked. I ran from the idea of surgery but finally got so bad I had it done. Only one week out but I'm sleeping better and really no pain right now. I hope I have an outcome such as yours. Thanks

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    • Posted

      I applied ice every 30-60 min for the first couple of weeks.  It will get better.

      Update - I'm now three months post surgery.  I can walk several miles with out pain.  I can sprint without pain.  I still have tightness when i go up on my toes, but that too is diminishing.  I think i'm up to about 50-60% strength compared to the other foot.  

      I'll add two other comments at this point.

      1.  just because you have a release, doesn't mean any tears in the plantar tendon are healed.  I found that the hard way when i over stretched the arch.  That hurt for a couple of days.

      2.  Back back - I have a couple of herniated disks in the lower back.  The boot, crutches, and cane all caused me to shift my weight and that caused my back to flare up.  Not crippling, but I can't do my martial arts training until it settles down.  My chiropractor is helping me work through it.  

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  • Posted

    Glad that you're on the mend. I'll have a dressing change today, next week dr will put me in a hard cast. Total of 4 to 6 weeks non weight bearing. I too have serious back issues and have had a number of shots in my back. Since im off my foot the back has settled a bit. I think the foot altered my gait to the point that it aggravates my spine. Hope you continue to do well

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  • Posted

    I writing from Hungary. I read a lot you don't find resolve for  heel spur. Many people suffer in heel pain and there is a one resolved without surgery. The treatment fast and painless.

    I had a surgery but my heel spur  problem re-emerged

    And the best It have a guarantee if it don't working within 2- weeks they pay back money.

    Only I offered it. My plantar facilities dissapeared in 100%

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  • Posted

    Hi poconosms1, 

    Many thanks for sharing your experience undergoing a gastrocnemius recession and plantar fasciotomy. It sounds like you've had a very successful outcome, which in fantastic to hear. I found it interesting that the surgeon decided to do both procedures as usually, a surgeon does either a gastroc recession or a plantar fasciotomy. Do you know why they decided both?

    A plantar fasciotomy has been the traditional approach for many years, however the gastroc recession is gaining increased popularity with better outcomes. There was a research study which compared this two procedures head to head and the gastroc recession group improved faster and had less complications than the fasciotomy group. 

    I look forward to your reply.

    Best Wishes


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    • Posted

      My surgeon was going to just do the fasciotomy, but the week before the surgical consult, i started experiencing sharp pain in my Achilles tendon. Based on the new development, the Dr decided to do both. 

      From what I could read, tightness in the calf muscle contributes to the cause of plantar fasciitias. I would think releasing the muscle would only help. 

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    • Posted

      I completely agree, releasing the calf muscle certainly makes good sense and there is a good number of studies demonstrating this to be an effective treatment alone, without also sacrificing the plantar fascia (surgical release). I've not hear of a case where the surgeon has done both procedures together.

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  • Posted

    follow up.

    It's been four months.  I do feel tightness in my heel and arch when I get out of bed that works itself out with stretching.. I spent a week camping with the Boy Scouts in new boots.  I did have some discomfort in my heel, but best described as a good ache - not pain like before.

    I still feel the tightness on calf where the recession occurred, but it's SLOWLY lessening.  I feel the tightness when I stand on the balls of my feet. I don't really feel any tightness when standing, walking, or sitting.

    I can easily walk at a fast pace around my lake  2 miles and feel no pain or discomfort and i can sprint with no pain.

    my back is still giving me problems, so i haven't returned to martial arts  training.

    Sometimes i feel a little tingling at the incision site on my heal.

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