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My Child Is Complaining of Heel Pain: Can You Help?

Typically, your kid wakes up filled with boundless energy, ready to take on the world – but suddenly, they’re complaining about a mysterious pain in their heel. 

As a parent, any discomfort in your child can be concerning and confusing, but your frustration worsens when you don’t know why it started or what to do about it. 

In this comprehensive guide, our experts at MidJersey Orthopaedics explain everything you need to know about heel pain in children. We discuss the most frequent offenders, common causes, symptoms, treatments, and crucial preventive measures. 

Sever’s disease

Referred to as a growth plate injury, Sever’s disease (calcaneal apophysitis) affects the heel’s growth plate, resulting in painful swelling. This condition usually stems from repetitive stress or tension on the growth plate where the Achilles tendon attaches.

Risk factors and prevention

Growing pains are part of childhood, but certain factors can increase the likelihood of Sever’s disease. Recognizing these and adopting preventive strategies can significantly lower your child’s risk.

Treating Sever’s 

When it comes to treating Sever’s disease, the first-line approach is rest, ice, stretching, and appropriate footwear. We also help you understand when medical intervention becomes necessary.

Achilles tendonitis in little athletes

Achilles tendonitis, or an inflamed Achilles tendon, is another common cause of heel pain in active children. 

The importance of an Achilles tendonitis diagnosis

Misdiagnosis of Achilles tendonitis can lead to prolonged pain and potential complications, so it’s important to work with an experienced professional, like those on our MidJersey Orthopaedics team, who understand children’s unique anatomical development and offer advanced pediatric orthopaedic procedures.  

How to care for Achilles tendonitis at home

You can help your child recover from Achilles tendonitis at home by using the RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) protocol and introducing gentle exercises. These measures alleviate the immediate pain and help prevent recurrences.

A fractured heel

Like in adults, a heel fracture in children is a significant injury that demands careful attention. We outline the symptoms you must watch out for and what a visit to a healthcare provider entails.

Signs of a fractured heel

Understanding the subtle and not-so-subtle symptoms of a heel fracture in children is crucial. We elaborate on the difference between normal pains and the telltale signs that indicate a more severe issue.

Fractured heel recovery

Recovery from a heel fracture can be long and slow. We guide you through the various treatment options and what to expect during rehabilitation, ensuring a smoother path to your child's full recovery.

Plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of the foot and connects the heel bone to the toes. 

In children, this often manifests as sharp, stabbing pain in the heel, especially noticeable during the first steps in the morning or after periods of rest. Although this condition is more commonly associated with adults, active children and adolescents can get it, too.

The root causes of plantar fasciitis

Several factors can contribute to the development of plantar fasciitis in children, such as overuse during sports, inadequate footwear, or even an unusual foot structure. Recognizing these factors early is crucial in preventing the escalation of symptoms.

Plantar fasciitis treatment

We treat plantar fasciitis with a combination of rest, ice therapy, proper footwear, and stretching exercises. These proactive measures alleviate your child’s discomfort and prevent future problems.

Obesity and heel pain

Carrying extra weight stresses your child’s joints, and their heels take the brunt of the load. Studies show that overweight and obese children have a higher risk of stress and hairline fractures in their heel bones. Understanding this link can help your child make the necessary lifestyle adjustments to alleviate heel pain.

Lifestyle changes for healthier heels

Weight loss is challenging for most adults, but kids have a tougher time because many lack the life experience and maturity to understand the need. You’re your child’s best ally in combating childhood obesity, and you can get them off on the right foot by modeling physical activity and healthy eating habits and offering a supportive environment.

With heel pain and obesity, prevention is better than cure. Our MidJersey Orthopaedics team can help you and your child understand how and why to manage weight and how it can relieve heel pain.

Though no one enjoys being in pain, it is the body’s signal that something isn’t quite right. As a parent, it’s your responsibility to spot these signs and get help. 

By creating a supportive relationship, seeking professional help, and encouraging healthy habits, you can shield your child from heel pain — and we can help.

Request an appointment online, or call MidJersey Orthopaedics in Flemington, Bridgewater, or Washington, New Jersey, or request an appointment online.

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