Heel Pain in Children: What You Need to Know
Heel pain is quite common in children. And although it’s usually not serious, correct diagnosis and early treatment are important. Today, William F. Buffone, DPM of North Fork Podiatry and Three Village Podiatry advises what to do if your child complains of heel pain.
Heel and foot injuries can progress gradually over time and are normally the result of overuse. A lot of today’s children are involved in competitive sports with demanding training schedules. For that reason, overuse injuries are common, but can usually be resolved with rest and other conservative methods.
Early treatment is important because ignoring symptoms can lead to more severe injury and persistent pain.
Here are a few different causes of heel pain and ways you can help your child heal:
Sever’s Disease: This is the most common cause of heel pain in children athletes ages 5 to 11 and it is caused by repetitive small traumas during sports or running. It’s thought to be caused by the pull of the Achilles tendon on the growing heel bone. Some treatment options include applying ice, stretching the calf muscles, and over-the-counter pain medications.
Achilles Tendonitis: Achilles tendonitis can occur in children, typically after an increase in activity. When inflamed, the Achilles tendon can cause swelling, pain, and trouble walking. Recommended treatment includes rest, ice, elevation, and compression, in addition to anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen.
Without treatment, this condition can become a chronic condition that causes pain during daily activities.
Plantar Fasciitis: Plantar fasciitis is an injury that involves soreness of the thick band of connective tissue located along the arch from the heel to the front of the foot. Symptoms include pain in the foot close to the heel, trouble walking, and soreness along the arch of the foot. As with Achilles tendonitis, recommended treatment includes rest, ice, elevation, and compression, in addition to anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen.
Fractures: Children who engage in high-impact sports are at risk of a fracture of the heel or foot as the result of a sudden impact. Treatment includes rest, application of ice, use of a splint or cast and pain medications.
Always consult a physician if your child is experiencing heel pain. Although most cases can be resolved using conservative measures, lingering heel pain can be a sign of a more serious issue such as infection, congenital problems or tumors. Following a proper evaluation from a podiatrist, heel pain can usually be treated at home.
(631) 474-3338, North Fork Podiatry (Southold) at (631) 765-6777 or North Fork Podiatry (Riverhead) at (631) 419-7107.