Is ‘plantar heel pain’ a more appropriate term than ‘plantar fasciitis’? Time to move on

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.

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, the authors 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.