Is your child hobbling off the soccer field or basketball court in pain? Have they suddenly lost enthusiasm for running or active play?
Kids are usually balls of energy, which is why heel pain is so distressing for children and their parents. Unfortunately, it is very common in young teens and adolescents, particularly those who are physically active with sports or dance. Furthermore, if your child simply tries to play through it, the result could be long-term chronic pain.
Fortunately, treatment for adolescent heel pain is often simple and conservative, and the experts at Family Foot & Ankle Care of Jasper have extensive experience in getting kids of all ages back on their feet.
Treating Your Teenager’s Heel Pain
There’s no miracle cure for adolescent heel pain, unfortunately. That said, prompt treatment can minimize your child’s pain and discomfort and help them heal faster, so they can go back to sports and play.
Treatment is mainly focused in relieving symptoms. The most common procedures are conservative in nature and tend to include:
- Cutting down on, if not outright avoiding, sports or any other physical activities that may be causing pain.
- Using ice or cold packs. Generally it’s best not to ice more than 10 minutes at a time, once per hour. If using ice, make sure you protect the skin by wrapping the ice in a towel first.
- Using an elastic wrap or compression stocking at the site of pain.
- Elevating the feet when sitting or lying down.
- Taking over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol.
- Gently stretching the heels and calves to release tightness and tension.
If pain does not improve after a few days of home care, or keeps returning when your child increases activity levels, take them in to see Dr. Barry. Our team can make a professional evaluation and determine if further treatment is necessary. Severe cases of heel pain may require your child to temporarily wear an immobilizing boot or cast in order to protect the foot as it heals. We also provide a line of comfortable, advanced prefabricated orthotic inserts that can be inserted into your child’s shoes to relieve their discomfort and correct any biomechanical flaws.
The recovery phase can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Yes, we understand that, for a child, sitting on the sidelines for even a few days—let along several weeks—can be extremely frustrating. But it’s important to take the full time needed, and once the recovery period is finished, they are almost always able to return to full activity with no trouble or lingering symptoms.
Causes of Heel Pain in Kids
Adult heel pain tends to be the result of conditions such as plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis, but that usually isn’t the case with kids (although they can develop them too). More likely, your child has a condition called Sever’s disease, or calcaneal apophysitis.
This condition is unique to children because it involves damage to a portion of the heel bone called the growth plate. True to its name, the growth plate is responsible for forming new bone tissue. When kids grow up, the plate is covered by mature bone, but during adolescence this softer tissue is much more exposed.
If your child is complaining of pain in his or her heels, make sure they get the compassionate, experienced care they deserve. Give our team in Jasper, IN a call today at (812) 481-7200 to set up an appointment. You can also request an appointment online.