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Plantar Fasciitis...new shoes and/or orthotics after lumbar fusion?

I have had plantar fasciitis for the last four years. I was told that it is unrelated to my back (but still wonder about the correlation). I did everything possible: new shoes, several different orthotics, chiropractic, massage, shots, taping, night time boot, stretches, etc. Also had pain when just standing.

The plantar fasciitis lessened greatly when I was walking less prior to surgery.  Now that I've started exercising, I am afraid it's staring to kick up again.

Would like to hear from others who may have a similar experience?  

Also, are new shoes/orthotics indicated following surgery?  My gait must be different since my spinal curve has gone from 30% down to 10%.



  • nz1025nnz1025 Posts: 194
    edited 02/12/2018 - 5:36 PM

    Hi, I had plantar fasciitis in my left foot that was related to muscle imbalances in my hips/core/etc. It might have originally been caused by a lower back injury that healed a long time ago. I had loads of physio exercises to even up my hips that eventually worked. The gist was that my weak left hip led to my left ankle being weak, which meant my left calf muscle tightened, which then pulled up on my foot causing plantar fasciitis. At some point later on while doing the exercises - I got plantar fasciitis on my right foot - this was caused by tight muscles on the outside of my right thigh - so I had to add some extra stretches. It was definitely a perseverance thing with the exercises, but got there eventually (well still doing fine tuning, but the plantar fasciitis aspect is ok now!). 

    If you go to physio post-op i would talk about this - hopefully you can get exercises that address everything - and eventually the plantar fasciitis will be addressed too. I'm doing physio post-op for neck surgery (1.5 yrs ago) - and we are addressing lots of core issues - as the neck causes a knock on effect on lots of things...

    edit: my physio was against orthotics as he believed that it was better to get the muscles to do their job. Having said that - I didn't have any underlying structural issues - so it may be appropriate in your case.

  • nz1025-

    Thanks for your response. I will be talking about this with my PT.  I also have done a TON of exercises over the years for my feet, and have recently resumed the 3 minute heel drop off a step stool that I think was most helpful.

    I appreciate what your PT said about the orthotics- I agree it's best to get your muscles aligned and in sync with your body. I don't even want to say what I've spent on orthotics. 

    My recovery from a 5 level fusion is going well- but I really hope my feet can respond as well as my back has thus far.

    Also, I'm only 9 weeks into the healing phase, so I'm learning patience :) 

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  • glad to hear your recovery is going well - 9 weeks is still pretty early. i think its important to have a physio who looks at your body as a whole. my middle back kind of fell apart about a year after surgery - and its taken about 6 months for that to start to improve with exercises - its a long process!! so yep, patience seems to be the key!! 

    also, i guess maybe it will be important for your physio to identify a bit more what is going on with you (what muscles are tight/weak) - so that you get the right type of exercises - and also to make sure you do them all with correct posture (ive had issues with this kind of thing). good luck!!

  • Thanks~I really appreciate your input.  It's easy to get discouraged.

  • Sheri76Sheri76 Michigan Posts: 646
    edited 02/12/2018 - 11:00 PM

    Plantar fasciitis is excruciating!!! I didn’t think I would ever be rid of that pain...back in summer/fall of 2014, about six months before I had my lumbar fusion.

    I believe the PT that I was doing for my back at that time brought on the heel pain...the stretches must have aggravated the fascia on my right heel. I had 4 foot shots (the first three didn’t help), slept with the night boot for awhile even after that last magical shot, and thankfully found some heel cups that help immensely... Tuli’s heel cups. I still wear them because I don’t ever want to go through that pain and agony again. 

    Last year I found out I had a small heel spur, so maybe the spur aggravated the fascia from all that stretching I did back then.

    I wore orthotics for years with success (needed them for fallen arches). But then they started bothering my lower back and I had to quit wearing them. That’s when I had developed spondylolisthesis L4-5. After having the fusion I still wasn’t able to wear even brand new orthotics, so I only wear the heel cups now. But I don’t put on the miles walking like I used to.

    Hope you get some relief quickly!

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  • Sheri76: 

    I agree, the PF is very painful!  Sounds like you went through some challenging times as well. I've not heard of the heel cups, will look into them.  


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