Can you help relieve your child’s horrible heel pain these school holidays? The short answer to this question is yes, what a relief! However, the things you can do to help your child will depend on what the cause of their heel pain is.
In children, the most common causes of heel pain are:
- Sever’s disease (AKA calcaneal apophysitis) – A condition affecting children, usually aged 8 to 14 (around the time of puberty). It’s particularly common in children who are heavier, flat-footed, or more physically active. If your child has this condition, you might notice that they tiptoe, limp, or complain of pain during or after physical activity.
- Bursitis – This typically affects more physically active children, especially those who do ballet or any activity that involves a lot of walking, running or jumping. It can also be caused by poor-fitting footwear. Apart from causing pain and sensitivity, bursitis can make the area red, warm, swollen and/or difficult to move.
- Achilles tendonitis – This condition has similar symptoms to bursitis, and often occurs after a sudden increase in physical activity (e.g. at the start of a sports season). It can be caused and/or exacerbated by activities that involve repetitive jumping, running or pivoting, such as dancing, basketball or netball.
- A heel fracture – Fractures can occur in children who’ve had a fall or who have participated in a high-impact sport. If your child’s pain is severe and they’re also experiencing bruising, swelling, and/or difficulty bearing weight on the affected foot, this may be the cause.
- Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) – This is a form of arthritis occurring in children under the age of 16 that has an unknown cause. Much like other forms of arthritis, it causes pain, swelling, redness and stiffness. You might notice your child is limping or particularly clumsy after waking up or sitting for long periods, or that they’re experiencing fatigue, appetite/weight loss, a rash and/or swollen lymph nodes. It is particularly important that you seek treatment if you suspect your child has this, because it can result in more severe complications further down the track, such as eye or growth problems.
For immediate relief of the symptoms of any of the above conditions, we’d recommend that you have your child rest, ice the affected area and give them ibuprofen. However, to actually fix the problem, our best advice would be to come see a podiatrist to ensure your child gets the proper diagnosis and treatment. Trust us, they tend to know a bit more than Dr Google! They have years’ worth of experience treating heel pain, and they love working with children. It’s also necessary to bring your child to see a podiatrist in case their pain is the result of something rarer, such as a tumour or stress fracture.
So don’t let heel pain ruin your child’s school holidays. Give us a call today on 9542 3491 today so you and your children can have a happy and pain-free holiday period!
The Sutherland Podiatry Centre Team