What Is Plantar Fasciitis (Policeman's Heel)?

Plantar fasciitis

The plantar fascia is the thick band of tissue that covers the bones on the bottom of the foot. It extends from the heel to the bones of the ball of the foot and acts like a rubber band, creating tension which maintains the arch of the foot.

When this band of tissue becomes inflamed or swollen it is called plantar fasciitis. The symptoms of plantar fasciitis can include pain and stiffness in the heel and it often gets worse in the morning, after standing or sitting for a long period of time, or after intense activity.

Both men and women can have plantar fasciitis, though it’s more common in active men between the ages of 40 and 70. You may be more likely to get plantar fasciitis if you:

  • Have foot arch problems such as flat feet and/or high arches
  • Run long distances or on uneven surfaces
  • Are overweight
  • Have a tight Achilles tendon

Diagnosis of Plantar Fasciitis (Policeman's Heel)

Your health care provider will first perform a physical exam. He will be checking for:

  • Tenderness on the bottom of your foot
  • Flat feet or high arches
  • Mild foot swelling or redness
  • Stiffness or tightness of the arch in the bottom of your foot

X-rays may also be taken to rule out other problems.

Treatment at Penn

Non-surgical treatments for plantar fasciitis almost always improve the pain. Treatment can last from several months to 2 years before symptoms get better. Still, some people need surgery to relieve the pain. If you have plantar fasciitis, it’s important to work with a team of experienced health care providers to determine the most appropriate course of treatment for your condition.

Penn Programs & Services for Plantar Fasciitis (Policeman's Heel)

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Foot and Ankle Pain

Penn orthopaedic foot and ankle specialists offer comprehensive surgical and non-surgical options to treat every type of foot and ankle condition.

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Podiatric Surgery and Medicine

Our ankle and foot center treats an eclectic array of patients from professional ballet dancers to middle school athletes to older adults experiencing problems with aging feet.

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Sports Rehabilitation

Penn Medicine’s Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation department diagnoses and treats a variety of sports-related injuries.

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