Heel Pain in Children

Most children dont complain of feeling ill or of pain unless it is of an intense nature. When you think of heel pain, especially in adults, your first diagnosis might be plantar fasciitis. You may even consider a fracture of the heel bone. In adults, you would most likely be correct in your assumption with a few outlier issues. In children, you would more than likely be off the mark. The more common cause of heel pain in children is what we call Apophysitis. Funny name I know.

What is Apophysitis?

First off, you need to know what an Apophysis is. An apophysis is a fancy medical term for a growth plate. The growth plate that is responsible for this type of heel pain is located at the back end of the calcaneus, extending the full height. Apophysitis is an inflammation and irritation of this growth plate. There is another name for this condition, albeit more harsh, Severs disease. Please note, this is NO disease, merely an inflammatory response.

What causes the pain?

It is believed to be caused by repetitive microtrauma to the growth plate from the pull of the Achilles tendon. There is also some thought that the pain is derived from the bones growing faster than the muscles or tendons can keep up with. Either way, it is commonly seen is extremely active children; especially those involved in routine sporting activities.

What are the signs and symptoms?

  • Heel pain, often on both heels
  • Heel pain with running, jumping or similar activites
  • Limping
  • Pain with side to side compression of the heel

How do you treat?

  • This is a self-limiting condition that will disappear as your child grows and the growth plate closes. Having said that, there are things that can be done to alleviate any current symptoms.
  • Reduce activity
  • Ice the heel after activity
  • Stretching of the hamstrings
  • Orthotics.
  • NOTE: in a growing child, you might consider the prefabricated version.
  • NSAIDs as needed

If you have a child that needs caring for any foot/ankle related concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Bowman at 713-467-8886 or visit www.houstonfootspecialists.com.

Category: Heel Pain

Tags: Children, foot pain, heel Pain, Houston, Podiatrist