Plantar fasciitis: sonographic evaluation

Radiology. 1996 Oct;201(1):257-9. doi: 10.1148/radiology.201.1.8816554.


Purpose: To evaluate the sonographic findings of plantar fasciitis.

Materials and methods: Both feet of 15 patients who had a clinical diagnosis of plantar fasciitis were evaluated with ultrasound (US) by using a 7.0-MHz linear-array transducer. Heel pain was unilateral in 11 patients and bilateral in four. Sagittal sonograms were obtained, and the thickness of the plantar fascia was measured at its proximal end near its insertion into the calcaneus. Other observations included hypoechoic fascia, fiber rupture, perifascial fluid collections, and calcifications. Both feet of 15 healthy volunteers were also evaluated as a control group.

Results: Plantar fascia thickness was significantly increased in the heels in patients with plantar fasciitis (3.2-6.8 mm; mean, 5.2 mm +/- 1.13) compared with their asymptomatic heels (2.0-4.0 mm; mean, 2.9 mm +/- 0.70) (P < .0001) and compared with the heels of the patients in the control group (1.6-3.8 mm; mean, 2.6 mm +/- 0.48) (P < .0001). The proximal plantar fascia of 16 (84%) symptomatic heels were diffusely hypoechoic compared with none of the patients' asymptomatic heels and only one heel of a patient in the volunteer group. No fascia rupture, perifascial fluid collection, or calcifications were identified.

Conclusion: Increased thickness of the fascia and hypoechoic fascia are sonographic findings of plantar fasciitis. US may be a valuable noninvasive technique for the diagnosis of plantar fasciitis.

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Fasciitis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Female
  • Foot Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Heel / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ultrasonography