Pediatric Heel Pain- Heel pain in Children

Children are resilient, but when your child begins to complain about heel pain, this must be taken seriously. Heel pain in a child is not normal. There are different causes of heel pain in a child and an adequate physical exam can help determine which type of heel pain is affecting your child.

 

What Is Calcaneal Apophysitis?

The most common cause of pediatric heel pain is calcaneal apophysitis (an injury or irritation to the growth plate of the heel). Typically, this occurs in boys (and girs) between the ages of 8 and 13 who are fairly active children. This is most likely to occur with a rapid increase in activity after a period of rest – such as starting rugby, soccer, netball and any in fact and sport practice after being off for a peiod of time.

Are There Other Causes of Pediatric Heel Pain?

Yes. Calcaneal apophysitis is the most common cause of pediatric heel pain. However, there are other things that can cause the heels to hurt such as stress fractures, growth plate fractures and hematagenous osteomyelitis, an infection of the heel bone.

Causes of Calcaneal Apophysitis

Causes of pediatric heel pain include:

  • Rapid increase in physical activity (sports)
  • Changes in training surfaces
  • Changes in training techniques
  • Changes in shoe gear (or going barefoot) while being physically active
  • A rapid increase in growth over a short period of time

During periods of rapid growth, the bones of the leg grow faster than the soft tissues (muscles, tendons and ligaments) and the stress they place across the growth plate can cause pain and inflammation.

Symptoms of Calcaneal Apophysitis

Calcaneal apophysitis typically affects active boys and girls between the ages of 8 and 13; however, this condition can affect any active child. Early signs and symptoms include:

  • Limping
  • Inability to participate in athletic activities
  • Walking on the toes to keep the heel from touching the ground
  • Pain in the heel that is worse after activity and relieved by resting

Diagnosis

The Podiatrist will start your exam with a thorough history. This will be followed by a physical exam. During your physical exam, The Podiatrist:

  • Pain and tenderness to the area of the inflamed growth plate
  • A tight heel cord (Achilles tendon)
  • Overall foot structure
  • Abnormalities in gait

X-rays may be ordered to detect any underlying bone abnormalities.

Treatment

Calcaneal apophysitis can be easily treated with changes in shoe gear, resting, icing, stretching and anti-inflammatory medications. Sometimes, physical therapy may be necessary, but this is rare.

Many times these types of injuries are unavoidable, but proper athletic shoes, stretching exercises and avoidance of obesity are some of the ways one can prevent an injury to the growth plate.

See The Podiatrist for expert care.

www.thepodiatrist.co.nz

www.kidsnmotion.co.nz

 

 

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About Your feet and podiatry with Caron Orelowitz | Registered Podiatrist - Auckland

Caron Orelowitz was born in Johannesburg and emigrated to New Zealand in 1997. She studied Podiatry at The Witwatersrand Technikon and was in private practice in South Africa for a few years, before setting off to ‘the other side of the world’. Auckland Podiatry. Since 1998 she has been helping people of all ages who have problems with their feet, from the elderly, to sports people, and those who just want some TLC for the feet. At present she has 5 practices (with a satellite Diabetes Practice out West Auckland), owns a children’s shoe shop (Scooters in Remuera), and tries to fit in some exercise when time permits. Caron is an active member of Podiatry New Zealand (NZ), and holds the position of Treasurer for the Auckland Branch, as well as representing the Northern Region on the Executive Council. She is registered under HPCAA (Health Practitioner Competency Assurance Act), and is often seen attending (and organizing) Seminars and workshops. Caron has a special interest in Paediatrics and can often be seen on the floor showing children some exercises. ACC registered Discounts for Super Gold Card Holders, members of Grey Power and Green Prescription participants. www.thepodiatrist.co.nz www.yourfeet.co.nz

Posted on August 13, 2012, in Contact a Podiatrist, What is a Podiatrist, Your feet and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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