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Heel Pain in Children: Why do my child’s heels hurt when playing sport?

4th January 2021

Heel Pain in Children: Why do my child’s heels hurt when playing sport?

Heel pain is not only limited to grown-ups. Heel pain in children is very common. Often, healthy active children will complain of pain in one or both heels during and after running and playing sport. The pain is located at the back of the heel, however children may complain of ‘sore ankles’. The most common cause of heel pain in children is a condition called Calcaneal Apophysitis (previously called Sever’s Disease).

Calcaneal Apophysitis is due to overuse and repetitive micro-trauma of the growth plate within the calcaneus (heel bone). It occurs between the ages 8 to 14 and is more common in boys than girls.

Treatment for children's heel pain can include reducing activity (but not completely stopping), strengthening, ice after activity, massage, avoiding barefoot and strapping to support the arch and reduce the load on the achilles tendon. Sometimes cushioned heel raises or foot orthotics are required.

Calcaneal Apophysitis is self-recovering – meaning it will go away completely when the two parts of bony growth join together. There are no known long term complications associated with children's heel pain.

Heel pain in children can be very painful, causing them to limp on the sporting field and not be as agile or fast as their team mates. Treatment however is simple and effective – so don’t make your child sit out the sporting season when they can manage their pain and continue to play.

You can read a more detailed explanation of Children's Heel Pain. Heel pain however is only one lower limb complaint that can slow your child down - have a read of our Children's Foot Health Section to learn more.

Allow our friendly Podiatrist’s at Foundation Podiatry Townsville to keep your child on the sporting field and kicking goals!