Heel Pain in Children


Heel and foot pain are usually associated with getting older, but let us not dismiss the fact that children can suffer from them, too. Prompt and effective treatment is, in fact, more important for growing, active children. Unlike adults, however, children might not be able to communicate their symptoms right away.


This is why it is important that we are aware of the common causes of heel pain in children. You should know how those conditions may manifest themselves so you know when to see our podiatrist, Sheldon H. Nadal, DPM in order to keep our children healthy and active.


Here are some of the most common causes of heel pain in children:



Children tend to have endless amounts of energy, but the muscles and ligaments in their heels and feet are susceptible to wear and injury through overuse. When too many sports practices take place, or when kids engage in an intense physical activity without the proper warm-up, the ligaments and muscles in the foot may not be able to rest and recover from micro-injuries and wear. This can result in a compounding effect and eventual injury.



Severs Disease is a serious foot condition that causes heel pain and is commonly mistaken for “growing pains”. When the bone in the heel goes through a growth spurt, but the rest of the legs and feet struggle to catch up, the result can be heel pain that would need immediate medical attention. The condition may manifest as difficulty walking, limping, intense pain, swelling and redness.



Sports are one of the most common causes of foot and heel injury for children. Any activity that involves jumping, running or any rapid changes in direction and movement can put a significant strain on the arch and heels of the feet. When children engage in sports without the proper footwear, or if they fail to warm-up the muscles in the legs and feet, injury to those parts is highly likely.



Whether children play sports or not, most of them are constantly on-the-go as they play and explore. Falls, tumbles, and jumps on hard or uneven surfaces can result in stress fractures to their heel or the bones in the feet. Stress fractures are not a complete break of the bone, but they can be microfractures , painful fissures in the bone that would require immediate medical attention.



This foot condition is the result of the inflammation and damage to the arch of the foot and it also causes pain the heel and the foot while walking, especially upon waking up first thing in the morning. Plantar fasciitis in children can have many causes, but overuse, high-impact sports, and improperly fitting shoes are major culprits for children.



Poorly-fitted shoes can result in an array of heel and foot problems for children. Because kids’ feet grow quickly, it is easy for their shoes to become too tight in the heel or toe box areas. Because many kids are active, shoes also tend to wear out more quickly than their adult counterparts, which can result in a poor arch and heel support.