With summer coming to a close and fall sports starting up, it’s time to watch for heel and arch pain in your kids. At Kansas City Foot and Ankle, we see several children daily that experience heel and arch pain after sports activities such as practices and games. Often, the heel pain starts intermittently but within a few weeks can become more consistent and painful and start affecting performance. It’s best to get evaluated early before the heel pain makes a significant impact.
Common conditions that cause heel pain include plantar fasciitis, or inflammation of the long ligament on the bottom of the heel and arch, and Achilles tendinitis, or inflammation of the large tendon behind the ankle that attaches to the back of the heel. Children with overly flat feet are at more risk for developing plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis due to mechanical instability of the foot. Increased activity such as playing sports can cause repetitive and excessive stretching of the plantar fascia and Achilles, leading to inflammation and pain.
An important additional cause of heel pain in children is Sever’s disease which is inflammation of the growth center of the heel bone. During sports and activities the growth center of the heel bone gets pulled by the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia and over time this can cause pain and inflammation. Sever’s disease is usually worse during and after physical activities.
Plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis, and Sever’s disease all respond well to conservative treatment such as stretching, heel lifts, rest and ice. We may also recommend custom molded orthotics to address the instability of the foot that is commonly the root cause of these painful conditions. Physical therapy may be indicated to help as well.
If your child is telling you their feet or heels hurt, call our office to schedule an appointment with one of our foot and ankle experts. Call 816-943-1111 to schedule an appointment today.