Answers to Adolescent Heel Pain

Kicking soccer ballTeenagers are typically known for rolling their eyes, thinking they know everything, and listening to music loud enough to not realize their parents are talking to them. However, as if teen years aren’t tough enough, adolescent heel pain can also be added to the mix and cause even more trouble!

Sometimes, heel pain in teenagers is the result of overuse injuries due to athletics and other activities — between all the school teams and recreational sports in the area, it’s easy to see why! Plantar fasciitis is a common condition in which the band of tissues that span the arch is aggravated and inflamed, causing it to pull on the heel. Achilles tendinitis is another injury that can lead to heel pain as a result of overdoing it. Perhaps the most common culprit for adolescent heel pain, however, is a condition known as Sever’s disease.

This typically shows up in active kids who just happen to also be growing, making teens understandably vulnerable. The problem occurs when the Achilles tendon does not grow as quickly as the heel bone, which makes the tendon tightly pull in resistance. Symptoms include pain in the back of the heel, swelling, a change in gait or a newly acquired limp, as well as a loss in desire to participate in usual sports and activities.

Fortunately, once your teen stops growing, the condition will be outgrown as well. In the meantime, it’s best to have your son or daughter take a break from high-impact activities that involve jumping and running and opt for low-impact choices instead, such as yoga, swimming, biking, or rowing. Stretching daily can ease discomfort, and Ice and medication can help with pain and inflammation. Shoes should offer plenty of cushion, too — heel cups or pads can help with that.

If your teenager is complaining of heel pain, or you notice any of the symptoms above, make an appointment with Dr. Todd Stevens so he can assess the problem and help you determine the best course of action. We might not be able to stop the eye rolling, but we can certainly help with adolescent heel pain! Call our Princeton, NJ office at (609) 924-8333, or dial (908) 687-5757 to reach our Roselle Park location.