Is Your Child Complaining of Heel Pain?

Not a very serious issue but neither can you be ignorant enough to neglect it. Heel pain is a commonly seen in children especially in their growing years. Known as Pediatric Heel Pain.

Difference between Pediatric and Adult Heel Pain

Both children and adult suffer from heel pain, but the nature and cause of the pain varies in both. Adults face this due to arthritis or deterioration with age (plantar fasciitis), where as in children due to the tenderness of the heel which strengthens as the child grows.

Pediatric Heel Pain:

Calcaneal apophysitis:

Also known as Server’s disease, it’s the most common cause of pediatric heel pain children suffer, which usually affects 8 to 14 year olds.  In particular, it tends to affect those who play basketball, soccer, or who’re involved with running.  There is a swelling/redness on the heels plate due to inflammation. It’s more of a disorder (not a disease) that requires your attention.  The calcaneal aphophysis is located at the insertion of the Achilles tendon.  Pain is typically experienced at the posterior inferior aspect of the calcaneus.  An aphophysis is a growth plate that isn’t involved with the linear growth of a bone.

Tendo-Achilles bursitis:

Tendo- Achilles bursitis can result from injuries to the heel, such as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, or wearing poorly cushioned shoes causing inflammation to fluid-filled sac (bursa) located between the Achilles tendon (heel cord) and the heel bone.

Overuse syndromes:

Achilles tendonitis, the most common overuse syndrome, causes inflammation of the tendon, due to repeated running and pounding on hard surfaces, thus reflecting pediatric heel pain.  Of note, the Achlles tendon is the largest tendon in the human body and it endures an enormous amount of strain in competitive and recreational athletes alike. 

Fractures:

Children being hyper-active, cause repetitive stress on their feet, thus resulting in minor, acute, stress and hairline fractures.

Symptoms:

  • The most common symptom pain in the back or bottom of the heel
  • The pain causes minor L=limping while walking.
  • As your child in pain finds discomfort while walking, he may start walking on toes
  • Also may have difficulty participating in usual activities or sports.

Treatment:

Heel pain in children is generally a recurring condition and may persist till the bone grows fully. In such a case, visiting a pediatric surgeon is highly recommended.There various options available. The best is selected on based on the diagnosis and cause of the pain.

  • Reduce any physical activity that causes discomfort
  • Use comfortable, cushioned shoes which don’t give any hard impact on the foot
  • Physical therapy which includes various forms of stretching
  • Use of orthotic devices such as heel cups or V cutouts which reduce friction
  •  Surgery, in some cases, that require any kind of correction

jasonandturner

Jason Turner writes on behalf of The Foot Specialis - medfoot.com - Podiatry clinic based in San Jose & Milpitas offers foot treatment for various foot problems.

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