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Is ‘plantar heel pain’ a more appropriate term than ‘plantar fasciitis’? Time to move on
  1. Henrik Riel1,
  2. Matthew Cotchett2,3,
  3. Eamonn Delahunt4,
  4. Michael Skovdal Rathleff1,
  5. Bill Vicenzino5,
  6. Adam Weir6,7,
  7. Karl B Landorf2,3,8
  1. 1 Research Unit for General Practice in Aalborg, Department of Clinical Medicine, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark
  2. 2 Discipline of Podiatry, School of Allied Health, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia
  3. 3 La Trobe Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre, School of Allied Health, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia
  4. 4 School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  5. 5 University of Queensland, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences: Physiotherapy, Brisbane, Australia
  6. 6 Department of Sports Medicine, Aspetar Hospital, Doha, Qatar
  7. 7 AMC, Amsterdam Center of Evidence Based Sports Medicine, Amsterdam, North Holland, The Netherlands
  8. 8 Allied Health Department, Melbourne Health, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Henrik Riel, Research Unit for General Practice in Aalborg, Department of Clinical Medicine, Aalborg University, Aalborg 9220, Denmark; hriel{at}dcm.aau.dk

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Video abstract

Are we speaking the same language?

During the last 300 years, a range of terms have been used to describe pain under the plantar aspect of the heel including gonorrhoeal heel, Policeman’s heel, heel spur syndrome, subcalcaneal pain, jogger’s heel, plantar fasciitis, plantar fasciopathy, plantar fasciosis and plantar heel pain. To facilitate effective communication between clinicians, improve patients’ understanding of their condition and allow for shared decision making, consistent and unambiguous terminology is required. Similar challenges with terminology have been recognised for other conditions, including groin pain experienced by athletes.1 The aim of this article is to provide a stimulus for discussion about the terminology used to describe pain under the heel and propose an appropriate term based on current knowledge. By doing so, we hope that we will set the scene for a future consensus on appropriate nomenclature for the condition of pain under the heel and its associated diagnostic criteria.

The typical presentation

Pain under the heel is typically characterised by pain located at the anteromedial aspect of the plantar heel during weight-bearing. It is usually …

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