What is Policeman’s Heel?

Plantar Fasciitis (also known as Policeman’s heel) is the condition where inflammation of a thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes occurs.

Some common indentifiers of policeman’s heel include:

  • Plantar Fasciitis is a condition where the plantar fascia becomes inflamed
  • Similar to denim fabric, the fascia is a rigid structure that has minimal give when stretched.
  • It is usually long enough to minimize the need to stretch it but structural changes can make it shorter or tighter, causing it to be stretched and inflamed during activities
  • Increased mechanical stresses, such as prolonged standing, walking or running can also cause it to become inflamed.
  • This leads to pain along where the plantar fascia runs at the bottom of the foot- from the heel and sometimes to the base of the toes

Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis

  • A patient with plantar fasciitis may experience gradual pain at the bottom of the foot- particularly around the heel and up to the bottom of the toes
  • It is usually at its worst after not standing or walking for a while- such as when you first get up from bed or after sitting for a long time (also called “first-step pain”)
  • It improves once you start walking around although may be painful afterwards
  • As it becomes worse, it may also be painful when walking or when you are not on your feet (ie. While you are sleeping at night)

Common misconceptions about Policeman’s Heel

MYTH 1: A bony spur, known as a plantar spur, is the cause of pain in plantar fasciitis. As a result, some patients ask health professionals if they can “get rid” of the bony spur to improve the pain.

FACT: studies have found that patients without plantar fascia pain also have the spurs- hence indicating the presence of spurs is normal and not the cause of plantar fasciitis pain!

MYTH 2: Corticosteroid injections is a miracle treatment that can get rid of my plantar fasciitis pain forever!

FACT: Corticosteroid injections only help with short term pain relief and ongoing use can lead to deteriorating structural changes in the structures around the heel.

How a Physiotherapist or Exercise Physiologist can help

  • There are many different pathologies that can cause pain in the heel and sole of the foot
  • A physiotherapist can:
  • Confirm if the pain is, indeed, from plantar fasciitis (and nothing else!)
  • If it is plantar fasciitis, address the different causative factors that are leading it to become inflamed
  • Provide a progressive exercise program so that you can achieve your physiotherapy goals!
  • Studies have shown that weakness in particular muscles in the legs can lead to changes in the posture of foot; hence causing plantar fasciitis pain
  • After your symptoms reduce significantly with a physiotherapist, exercise physiologists can strengthen the muscles around your hips and ankle to reduce the risk of recurrence!


Brukner, P., Khan, K. (2019).  CLINICAL SPORTS MEDICINE 5E – VOL 1. United Kingdom: McGraw-Hill Education.

Goff, J. D., & Crawford, R. (2011). Diagnosis and treatment of plantar fasciitis. American family physician, 84(6), 676-682.


Please remember that medical information provided by Optimum Health Solutions, without consultation with a health care professional, must be considered as an educational service only and is not a substitute for a medical consultation.

Found this article helpful? Share it with your community

Want to find out more?

Recent Articles

Our team actively contribute the latest health tips, exercises routines and healthy recipes to support your life’s health journey.