At Healthy Feet Podiatry we pride ourselves on treating patients of all ages. A very common problem we see in children is general foot pain. It is assumed that foot pain is normal in kids and is usually written off as “growing pains;” however, foot pain is not normal and should not be dismissed.
Two common areas for children to have pain are their arches and heels. Because of the location of the growth plate in the heel in conjunction with the insertion point of the Achilles tendon, inflammation of the growth plate is very common (also known as Calcaneal Apophysitis or Sever’s Disease). The combination of children being active and commonly having a low arch (flat feet) causes an abnormal pull of both the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon insertion site on the bone; therefore, the pulling causes irritation on the growth plate. Other than icing, rest and anti-inflammatories the most tried and true treatment is custom molded orthotics. From my experience, I’ve had parents tell me many times their child cries at night because of the pain. With the addition of a custom orthotic in your child’s shoe, you should notice a significant improvement in your child’s pain.
One more rare condition that must be considered with a child having arch pain is Köhler’s Disease. This condition is uncommon; however, it shouldn’t be overlooked, especially in a child between ages 6-9. Köhler’s Disease occurs when the blood supply to the navicular bone (the bone along the inside of the arch) is temporarily compromised. This temporary compromise in blood supply to the bone leads to pain and a delay in development of the bone. In the image below, you can see the difference in the size of a healthy navicular bone (blue) versus one with Köhler’s Disease (red). Have no fear though, Kohler’s Disease will not likely cause permanent gait or developmental problems for your child if treated. Immobilizing the affected side for 6-8 weeks is typically required in a removable boot or short leg cast, followed by custom orthotics to take extra stress off the navicular.
If your child is suffering from foot pain, don’t dismiss it! Come see one of the physicians at Healthy Feet Podiatry so we can get your child back to playing with his or her friends.