Even the most agile, athletic children are not exempt from having to deal with pesky or downright painful heel conditions. Although most cases of heel pain in children are not serious, you will still want to get a proper diagnosis, particularly if the pain persists for several days or weeks. If your child is complaining of heel pain and you aren’t sure why, check out these four common causes that could be behind the condition.
- A Fracture: Whether your child is regularly engaged in team sports such as basketball or soccer or they just spend a lot of time throughout the day playing hard on their feet, a fracture could be causing them their heel pain. One of the best ways to know if your child has a fracture is whether or not they are able to walk on the injured foot. Other signs include swelling, bruising, and severe, lasting pain. If you suspect your child has a foot or heel fracture or they recently had a fall that resulted in heel pain, call the doctor right away to get a proper diagnosis and immediate treatment.
- Achilles Tendonitis: If your child has recently started a new sport in which they practice a lot and have dramatically increased their physical activity, their heel pain could be the result of Achilles Tendonitis. Usually with this condition, the pain will be mild at first and gradually worsen over time. Other signs could include trouble walking, warmness, inflammation, and swelling. This condition is common in children who participate in dance, basketball, baseball, and any sport that requires brisk walking, running, and pivoting. The best way to treat Achilles Tendonitis, after getting a diagnosis from a foot specialist, is by resting the foot and staying off of it until is has heeled. Elevate the foot, ice it, and compress it. Your child would also benefit from tape or an elastic wrap to reduce the swelling and keep the inflammation down.
- Calcaneal Apophysitis: Calcaneal apophysitis, also known as Sever’s disease, is the most common cause of heel pain in athletic children between the ages of five and eleven, according to the American Family Physician. When there is a stressful pull in the Achilles tendon of a growing heal bone, it leads to trauma after continuous overuse. Children who participate in sports with lots of running and jumping are most at risk for this condition. Children with Sever’s disease will notice warmth, inflammation and pain in the back of their foot. When Sever’s disease is caught and diagnosed, it can be treated swiftly and the foot can be fully heeled within roughly three to six weeks. Treatment should include pain medications, stretching the calf muscles, and icing the affected area.
- Bursitis: Bursitis can affect anyone at any age and if your child is wearing improper, uncomfortable footwear, they could be suffering from bursitis too. Bursitis is caused when the bursa, a pocket of fluid next to the Achilles tendon, becomes irritated and inflamed. If your child is wearing tight shoes and their tendon is repeatedly being rubbed up against the shoe, it can lead to bursitis. After getting a diagnosis, the best thing to do is switch your child’s footwear and take the steps recommended to you by a foot specialist to ensure your child’s foot has totally heeled before they return to any extensive physical activity.
Looking for more information on heel pain in children and adults? Don’t hesitate to contact us today. Our team of podiatry specialists is committed to helping children and adults get the proper treatment for a variety of painful and troublesome foot conditions.