Teenagers can have a busy life when they participate in school, work, and family activities. The last thing you want them to worry about is heel pain — especially if they are heavily involved in sports. If your teenager complains of heel pain, the cause may have a simple explanation. Read on to learn more about these three common reasons your teen may suffer heel pain.
1. Plantar Fasciitis
The plantar fascia ligament is responsible for some instances of heel pain. This important ligament stretches along the bottom of your teen's foot and connects the heel bone to the bones in the front of the foot. It also provides necessary support to the arch.
Plantar fasciitis can occur when this ligament is inflamed and causes pain in the heel and bottom of the foot. Some teens develop plantar fasciitis if they are suddenly more active than normal and damage the ligaments in their feet. Or, active teens that begin a new athletic training regimen like sprinting and jumping can over-use their ligaments. Often, obese teens or those with very high arches can feel heel pain as well.
Your teen may complain of heel pain in the morning or after they have sat for a long time. Other times your teen can have increased pain after they participate in sports.
2. Achilles Tendinitis
While ligaments connect two bones, tendons connect muscle to bone. The Achilles tendon, the largest tendon in the body, provides a connection between the calf muscle and the heel bone. This major tendon pulls on your teen's heel as they flex their calf and enables them to run, jump, and raise up onto the ball of their foot.
Achilles tendinitis can develop if this tendon is overworked. Teen athletes can hurt this tendon with rapid changes in foot movement or intense repetition. Uphill or sudden sprints are to blame as well. Your teen can be prone to develop this condition if they push their body athletically to perform before it is ready. Finally, failure to properly warm up their calf muscles can cause inflammation too.
Your teen may complain their calf or heel hurts to touch or move after exercise. The area can even feel warm or appear swollen.
3. Calcaneal Apophysitis
Calcaneal Apophysitis, or Sever's disease, differs from the previous two conditions in that its cause is growth spurts. Children as young as eight years old experience sudden growth in the heel bone, or calcaneus. New bone continually grows at the growth plate at the back of the heel, or physis, until around fourteen years of age.
Surrounding tendons, muscles, and ligaments cannot keep up with the heel's accelerated growth rate and undergo painful stretching, pressure, and inflammation. Chances are one or both of your teen's heels hurt due to inflamed tissue and muscle strain if they are very active, especially as they run and jump on hard surfaces for basketball and track.
Teens with high arches may experience calcaneal apophysitis, or if they possess tight Achilles tendons. Obese teens are at risk as well.
Your teen might limp or feel forced to walk on the front of their feet to alleviate discomfort. They may feel sudden sharp pain if they squeeze the sides of their heel.
Teenagers may seem overly dramatic about life and express many complaints. However, don't ignore their claims of heel pain. Even teens that are not active in sports can suffer from heel pain due to a legitimate physical cause like those listed above.
Your teen should visit the experts at Ankle & Foot Clinic of Everett who can carefully examine and diagnose the reason for their heel and foot pain.