Why Does My Child Have Heel Pain?

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When it comes to your children, they shouldn’t feel pain on their feet. If they complain about pain, it usually indicates an injury or issue that should be addressed.

One of the more common complaints of pain for children is heel pain – especially if they are physically active. There are a few reasons why your child might experience heel pain, including: Sever’s Disease (Calcaneal Apophysitis), plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, Achilles tendonitis, and even fractures.

Heel pain due to Sever’s Disease. For children (between the ages of 8 to 15) with growing feet, Sever’s disease tends to be a common reason for heel pain. Usually aggravated by an injury or other repetitive impact (e.g. jumping or running in cleats), heel pain is caused by a tight Achilles tendon that pulls on the heel growth plate, which has not yet solidified. The repeated tight pulling or an injury can cause inflammation, tenderness, and pain in the rear of the heel bone.

Assessment of symptoms. A podiatrist can usually diagnose Sever’s disease by performing an assessment of the heel bone, which includes squeezing the sides of the heel. If that causes pain, it is an indication that your child might be suffering from this problem. At home, you’ll want to pay attention to your young athlete’s feet. Check for any signs of limping as that could indicate that your child is trying to ignore the pain.

Treatment of Sever’s disease. For mild cases, pain from Sever’s disease can resolve on its own as the bone hardens. If the pain is not persistent and extreme, rest and applying a cold compress can help to reduce pain and inflammation. If your child is in the middle of a season or tournament, be sure to use heel cups or orthotics, as well as stretching exercises to help prevent worsening symptoms.

For more intense pain, your child should rest the foot and not participate in sports for a couple of weeks. The heel bone may even benefit from immobilization in a boot. If your child continues to play sports, it may cause further problems that require more treatment.

Make an appointment. Do you suspect Sever’s disease to be the reason why your child is complaining of heel pain? Come see our podiatrist, Dr. Jonathan M. Kletz for a proper assessment and appropriate treatment. Make an appointment today at any of our Texas offices in Abrams (Dallas), Athens, and Gun Barrell City so that we can help your child get back on his or her feet!