Kids and Heel pain

kids and heel pain

My heel hurts! Kids reporting heel pain may become more common as we change from winter boots and shoes that support the foot and ankle to flip flops and slip on shoes that allow for more movement at the foot and ankle. Children have a growth plate at their heel that can become inflamed and painful when not provided with enough support, especially when more active. This can also result from tightness in the leg muscles. If your child regularly complains of pain, demonstrates a limp, or has redness/swelling at the heel, a follow up with a healthcare professional is recommended. X-rays may be needed to make sure the growth plate is in good condition. A referral to a physical therapist can help with further assessment for a specific treatment plan. However, there are things you can do at home to help!

Activities to Decrease Your Kids’ Heel Pain

Remind kids that flip flops/loose shoes are for intermittent wear between places like the locker room to/from the pool or sporting event. If you are going out exercising, walking, hiking or exploring, wear a good supportive lace up shoe.

Stretch! As kiddos grow, their muscles may have a difficult time keeping up so daily stretches can help with this. Perform an activity that warms up their muscles. Then, have them lower their heel off the back of a step to stretch the calf muscles. Place the leg in a doorway while on your back to stretch the hamstring muscles. This will help decrease any stiffness. 

Incorporate balance training. Balance training helps strengthen the muscles around the ankle joint. It improves proprioception, which is the body’s awareness of its position in space. Encourage activities such as standing on one leg, walking heel-to-toe on a straight line, or using balance boards. These activities can significantly enhance their balance and stability.