While you and your children can see dramatic improvement in most kinds of heel pain from well-fitting shoe insoles and other orthotics, heel pain in children and teens that’s brought on by athletic activities could be caused by a stress fracture. And it can’t heal without rest and treatment.
It’s important that you don’t let your child keep playing through pain without a professional assessment. Foot and ankle pain is common in those who stand, walk or run a lot, but it’s never normal. And immature feet sometimes just aren’t ready for the daily stresses of an activity like football or soccer.
Moving side to side on cleats, which often don’t have much padding inside, can be especially painful for some student athletes. In many cases, specially made shoe insoles designed to combat heel pain in athletic shoes is all that’s necessary to ease the pain and allow it go away completely.
But a stress fracture is a more serious matter and could also be the cause of the pain. While such a break may or may not require a cast or crutches, rest is always prescribed. And athletic activities must certainly be avoided during healing. It’s also essential to seek medical treatment for a stress fracture to make sure the injury heals properly. Otherwise, your son or daughter could be in for a lifetime of foot pain.
Keep Watching For Problems
Unfortunately, a stress fracture is a tiny, thin break in a bone and may not show up on x-rays, so even a conscientious parent who is trying to do the right thing may not discover the abnormality at first. But if a player cannot live up to his or her usual level of competition, complains of persistent pain or starts shunning away from giving 100 percent when they have no history of laziness, there’s definitely a problem of some kind.
While the issue could be plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis — both painful conditions that can severely impact performance — it could also be a fracture.
Soccer and football are very popular sports, and both create conditions that can lead to stress fractures. If breaks aren’t detected and treated, traumatic arthritis and other conditions can develop in adulthood that could have been avoided.
Don’t Be Overprotective
While it can be tempting to be overprotective of a child, there’s no reason to severely restrict the activities of a child who is experiencing only mild heel pain. After a trip to the doctor, some analgesic tablets, shoe insoles and other simple treatments may be all that’s required.
But if your child has heel pain that doesn’t get better with treatment, ask your doctor to look again. The problem could be a stress fracture — and that’s something you simply can’t afford to ignore.
When you treat foot problems in children, you can help them avoid a lifetime of unpleasantness. And that’s worth doing. As you may know yourself, foot pain is something that demands to be taken seriously.