Heel pain is a common occurrence in children. It is not usually a serious condition but parents should take their child to a podiatrist for prompt treatment if they suspect an issue. Prolonged heel pain can hamper kids’ development.
There are many causes of heel pain – with some easier to treat than others. We explore each and then describe treatment options available..
Heel pain in children can develop because of foot bone fractures. Typically, fractures occur after a sudden impact, often during sports like rugby or football.
Symptoms of fracture tend to be very apparent and include things like not being able to put any weight on the foot, bruising, swelling and stabbing pains. Treatment is similar to other instances of broken bones. Physicians will fit a cast or splint and then provide pain medications your child can use until the pain goes away. Some kids may also need physical therapy to restore strength and robustness to the foot.
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammatory condition that affects the band of connective tissue that runs from the heel of the foot to the ball, creating the foot’s arch. Children with the condition may find it hard to walk, experience tightness or tenderness along the arch of the foot, or experience pain close to the heel.
Plantar fasciitis usually results from engaging in heavy physical activity, particularly sports that involve running and jumping. Some kids can also develop it if they fail to wear the correct footwear.
Treating plantar fasciitis involves massage, elevating the foot, applying ice, applying compression and taking a break from physical activity. Resting gives the body time to repair the damage to the connective band while ice and compression reduce inflammation, speeding the healing process.
Like plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis typically occurs after a sudden uptick in your child’s activity levels (such as joining the school soccer team). Usually, kids develop pain in the back of the foot or the heel. If the tendon becomes inflamed, this can cause swelling and lead to difficulty walking and running. To start, pain is often minor. However, it can progress to the point where the child cannot walk at all.
Treatment follows a similar pattern as before. Physicians recommend that children get ice and compression to reduce swelling and elevate their feet to help with drainage. Proper rest is also essential. Some children may benefit from taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen.
Sever’s disease is a condition that results from excessive micro trauma to the feet during sports and running activities. Researchers believe it occurs because of the way the calf muscle interacts with growing heel bones during child development. Children who jump rope are at the highest risk.
Treatment involves putting ice on the affected area, taking medications such as acetaminophen and stretching calf muscles.
If your child has heel pain, visit Be Podiatry in Greensborough, Victoria. Our podiatrists can provide diagnoses and treatment to bring them back to full health.