Heel pain does not discriminate. Just like their parents, kids can wind up with aches and pains at the back of their feet—especially so now, in summertime, with days in class replaced with days spent running, jumping, hiking, sports camps, and more.
However, although heel pain is common in kids (especially adolescents), it usually takes a different form than its adult counterparts. Kid’s feet are still growing, and sometimes the growth rate of the heel bone outpaces that of the surrounding ligaments and tendons, combine that with lots of stress from physical activities and sports—especially those that take place on hard surfaces—and the result is swelling, pain, tenderness, and in more severe cases even walking difficulty. The condition is known as Sever’s disease, and is quite common in young ones between the ages of 8 and 14.
There’s good news, however. First, although painful, Sever’s disease is usually only temporary and rarely poses any long-term issues, especially if you seek treatment quickly.
The most important component of successful treatment is rest. Have your child take a break from whatever activity was causing the pain, and have them mix in some low-impact exercise (such as biking or swimming) to lessen the load on the heels until pain subsides. We may also recommend some gentle stretches and exercises to help keep leg muscles strong.
Although perfect prevention is impossible, you can mitigate the risk by always ensuring your child is wearing shoes that properly support and cushion the heel and arch, fit properly, and are right for the type of sport or activity your child enjoys. Kids’ feet grow fast, so keep checking every couple of months to make sure shoes are still fitting well—and don’t give kids hand-me-downs, either, as these shoes have already been “molded” to support someone else’s foot.
Regular activity is important for everyone, especially children and teenagers. If your child’s feet are hurting, take them to see Dr. Keith McSpadden at North Austin Foot & Ankle Institute. A correct diagnosis and treatment plan will help your little one get back on the field at full strength as quickly as possible. To set up an appointment in Cedar Park or Round Rock, contact us online, or dial 512-593-2949 today.