"Walking off" pain is not really the best solution when it comes to your kids feet!
It's October and we are well into the school year. With the early morning alarms, boring teachers and hours of homework, also comes some good stuff; the fall sports season for both middle school and high school students! Football, soccer, swimming, basketball, cross country and even dance are just some of the things that your kids will be partaking in this school year.
After a summer of taking it easy, just playing outside, hanging out on the Long Island beaches or horsing around at camp, their bodies and especially their feet, may not be ready for all of it. With the sudden increase in activity, like long after school practices or new exercises and training techniques, comes new muscle aches, pains and strains.
One of the most common things that kids will complain of is heel pain. Lately heel pain has become synonymous with "plantar fasciitis" and when it comes to adult feet that might be a safe assumption but when it affects kids ages 8-15 it is usually caused by something else. While in adults the pain is usually on the bottom of the heel, in children it is most often localized to the back of the heel. The pain associated with plantar fasciitis for adults tends to alleviate and even go away with movement, however, with heel pain in children it will worsen with movement. They can't just “walk it off” as a coach or friend or even a parent might tell them to do. It shouldn't be ignored or dismissed.
In this age group, the growth plate on the back of the heel bone remains open. The achilles tendon inserts onto this area and with the increase in activity this area can become inflamed and very painful. The condition is called apophysitis or Sever's Disease, and is very common. It can affect both boys and girls and they will tend to complain of pain in both heels that is reproducible with squeezing the area.
The condition can be caused by many things, including, tight heel cords, arch deformities, poor shoe gear and obesity.
If your child complains of these types of pains or you notice any of them on your child, you should have it evaluated by a doctor to rule out more serious conditions. Treatments range from rest, ice, compression, to physical therapy, stretching exercises and medication. Orthotics can be very helpful in taking some of the strain off the achilles tendon and providing biomechanical support to the rest of the foot. As with any biomechanical issue a proper exam is crucial to formulating an adequate and appropriate plan of care.
So as the sport season progresses, don't ignore those aches and pains, they can't just “walk it off”, it can get worse. Call the Roslyn or Huntington office today, ask for Dr. Vieira, I can help!
We also have two Connecticut locations in Fairfield and North Haven!