The Tell-Tale Signs of Policeman’s Heel

If you’re experiencing ongoing pain in the heel of your foot, chances are you’ve developed a condition called plantar fasciitis, which is more commonly known as Policeman’s Heel.

The ailment affects the plantar fascia, the long, thin ligament that runs all the way from your toes to your heel. The plantar fascia can become damaged and worn over time, causing it to thicken – and once it does, it will start to feel stiff and sore.

There are several tell-tale signs of Policeman’s Heel that distinguish it from other common complaints. When the symptoms below are present, you’re much more likely to have plantar fasciitis as opposed to another foot-related problem.


You can feel a sharp, stabbing sensation in your heel

It’s the most characteristic symptom of Policeman’s Heel, and it can vary in duration and intensity – but one thing’s for sure, if your plantar fascia is suffering, you’ll feel some sort of localised pain in the area. The pain, which can be present in either the centre or the front of the heel bone, is often described as a ‘stabbing sensation’; however, it will often wear off as the day progresses, and turn into more of a throb or an ache.


The pain is worse first thing in the morning

If you find that the pain is particularly severe as soon as you wake up, and you struggle to you’re your first few steps without yelping in discomfort, that’s a clear sign you’ve developed Policeman’s Heel. It happens because your body sends a weaker supply of blood to your lower limbs while you’re resting overnight.


The pain will reappear after you’ve been sitting down for a while

In the same way that Policeman’s Heel resurfaces after a good night’s sleep, it will also rear its ugly head again if you’ve been immobile for a little while. The pain should lessen in intensity after a couple of minutes, once you start walking again, but it’s uncomfortable, nonetheless.


Sometimes, the pain can be triggered while you’re standing…

If you’ve been upright for a while and you’ve been placing constant pressure on your feet, you may find that your heel starts to protest!


…but it’s not necessary there while you’re exercising

Somewhat surprisingly, Policeman’s Heel pain is usually worse after exercise, not during it.


The affected foot feels stiff

Policeman’s Heel isn’t just painful – it also causes stiffness in the heel and the foot, which can start to interfere with your mobility. Plantar fasciitis sufferers will often be seen limping due to the discomfort. Again, the stiffness is more noticeable first thing in the morning or after you’ve been sitting down.

It’s pretty easy to diagnose Policeman’s Heel. If you’re experiencing one or more of the symptoms above, it’s likely that plantar fasciitis is the culprit behind all your newfound discomfort.

However, you may want to visit your GP to rule out any other conditions, such as heel spurs, Achilles tendonitis, rheumatoid arthritis or hypothyroidism, all of which can cause pain in the heel. Your healthcare professional will identify the tender parts of your foot by carrying out a physical examination, and may also arrange for you to undergo a bone scan or ultrasound to confirm their suspicions.