Calf Muscle Release

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What is Calf Muscle Release?

Calf muscle release is a surgical procedure involving the surgical release of the calf muscle by making an incision in the back of the leg to gain access to the calf muscle which is then cut to release tension in the calf muscle.

How Does it Work?

It has been demonstrated through previous research that increased tension of the calf muscle is an established causative factor of plantar fasciits, which is why the most common treatment option recommended by clinicians is stretching exercises of the calf muscles to reduce tension. For some patients, despite performing stretching exercises, they are unable to reduce tension of the calf muscles, which can be a result of long term irreversible contracture of the muscles. In such cases, a surgical release of the muscle can serve as an alternative method for releasing tension of the calf, which in turn, reduces loading stress on the plantar fascia.

How it Actually Work though?

There have been a few published papers demonstrating calf muscle release to be a highly effective treatment option for plantar fasciitis. In one study, researchers compared the calf muscle release procedure with plantar fascia release, with the calf muscle release achieving better results and faster recovery. I have presented the findings of two research papers looking at this procedure in my Podcast series which you can find here

Risks

No surgical procedure is without risk and so this procedure comes with the common risks with elective surgery including, infection, delayed healing, scarring, nerve damage, muscle weakening etc. Although not risk free, this procedure has been demonstrated to very safe when patients are selected carefully.

My Verdict

Calf muscle release is still a novel procedure for the treatment of plantar fasciitis, however based on published evidence, this procedure should replace the traditional plantar fascia release procedure as it results in better pain relief, faster recovery and less complications. The success demonstrated with the calf muscle release procedure is likely due to the fact that the procedure addresses a very common and well etablished cause of plantar fasciitis, which is calf muscle tension. Currently there is still a limited amount of research investigating this procedure and further research would provide further insights into the true success of this surgical procedure.