Diagnostic Imaging & Plantar Fasciitis

Diagnostic Imaging & Plantar Fasciitis

Diagnostic imaging can be extremely helpful in recognizing, monitoring, and treating multiple different injuries and conditions. With a condition such as plantar fasciitis, many athletes wonder if there is something tangible that can be seen on a film or screen that can help them understand why/where their pain is originating from. In a systematic review done in 2009, a group of studies were complied to explore the diagnostic imaging features associated with chronic plantar heel pain. They found that:

1. >4.0 mm plantar fascia thickness is associated with increased fluid collection and is diagnostic of plantar fasciitis
2. Subcalcaneal spur formation is strongly associated with pain beneath the heel

Bottom line: Increased plantar fascia thickness may be observed from real time ultrasound machines and can be diagnostic for this condition. Bone spurs can be observed from X-rays, however, many bone spur related pains can improve conservatively before surgical options need to be explored!


  • Irving, D. B., Cook, J. L., & Menz, H. B. (2006). Factors associated with chronic plantar heel pain: a systematic review. Journal of science and medicine in sport, 9(1-2), 11-22.

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