Pediatric Foot & Ankle Care

Foot Pain is Never Normal in Kids and Teens

Address pediatric food pain early to avoid long recovery periods.

Are you wondering if your child is experiencing real pain or just growing pains? Actually, both kinds of suffering are real, and if they are affecting your child’s ability to run, jump, or walk, your child may be dealing with an injury. Sometimes, your child or adolescent’s physical activity can result in minor or major injuries to the foot and ankle.

If your child or teen is complaining of foot pain, take it seriously and get it checked out immediately. Foot pain in children and young adults is not normal, and parents should not wait to see if it “goes away.” In fact, young athletes and dancers should never play through the pain in their feet, even if it’s for a big game or recital. Untreated pediatric heel pain not only leads to difficulty in standing and walking, but those injuries could also worsen and may require complicated therapy to recover fully.

Happily, most kids are fast healers, so treatment for foot pain if often simple and straightforward if the issues are addressed early.

Pediatric Foot Care

What is Posterior Heel Pain?

Posterior heel pain is discomfort that occurs behind the heel, in the area near the insertion of the Achilles tendon. This is not to be confused with pain under the heal or near the arch of the foot. Many young athletes or dancers that do a lot of running or jumping experience posterior heel pain. Sports like soccer, lacrosse and tennis are especially prone to posterior heel pain. This kind of pain can limit your child’s ability to engage in physical activity. Whenever you see signs of posterior heel pain, such as inability to walk, run, or jump without pain, bring your child to a podiatrist who is a pediatric foot and ankle specialist.

What is Sever’s Disease?

Sever’s Disease, or Sever’s calcaneal apophysitis, is one of the most common pediatric foot and ankle conditions. Sever’s disease is a misnomer, and is actually an injury of the growth plate in the heel bone, not a disease. The heel bone has a large growth plate that is subject to the strong pull of the Achilles tendon. When these tendons become stretched tight the growth plate is subjected to repetitive tension forces, becomes inflamed, and cause pain. Extreme activity, especially on hard, concrete surfaces, or excessive force on the Achilles tendon, can trigger the condition.

Girls are especially susceptible to Sever’s Disease from ages 8 through 13. Boys are most vulnerable at ages 10 through 15. Treatment of Sever’s Disease can include rest, ice packs, NSAIDS, physical therapy, inserts, or even casts to allow for healing.

What are other Common Pediatric Heel Pain Conditions?

Seeking the advice of a professional, with a background in pediatric foot pathology is important because there are a multitude of issues that can arise in the foot resulting in pain. Accurate diagnosis is essential to being able to institute the correct treatments.

  • Foot Fractures

    When kids and teens participate in athletics, dance, or other vigorous activity, repeated stress on the feet sometimes results in hairline fractures. In children 10 and under big jumps or shortfalls can result in acute fractures.

  • Tendo-Achilles Bursitis

    This occurs when the fluid-filled sac (bursa) located between the Achilles tendon and the heel bone is inflamed. Tendo-Achilles bursitis can occur after injuries to the heel, because shoes are poorly cushioned, or in connection with certain diseases, especially juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Stress and Overuse Injuries

    Kids and teens are still growing, which means that their feet are more prone to injuries from overuse, especially when they are running or training on hard surfaces. Basketball, soccer, and track athletes are most prone to overuse injuries, including Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis.

If your child is experiencing foot, heel, or ankle pain, give Harford Lower Extremity Specialists a call at 410-836-0131 or click the Schedule An Appointment button below.