Heel pain can also occur in children, most commonly between ages 8 and 13, as they become increasingly active in sports activity in and out of school. This physical activity, particularly jumping, inflames the growth centers of the heels; the more active the child, the more likely heel pain will occur. Sever’s Disease, a common problem in growing children, occurs before the closing of the heel bone growth plate, during which time the Achilles tendon pulls on the heel bone and creates a shear force or stress on the growth plate, resulting in mild swelling and heel pain. It is a self-limiting condition that resolves when the growth plate closes. Podiatric care is necessary to protect the growing bone and to provide pain relief. We can recommend treatment options, which may include shoes with shock-absorbing heel cups, orthotics, anti-inflammatory medication, ice massage, and Achilles tendon stretching.
Heel spurs are often associated with plantar fasciitis. This bony growth and projection, visible by X-ray, appears on the bottom of the heel and extends towards the toes and can develop from the pull and tension of the plantar fascia. A heel spur indicates stress on the bone from the pull of the fascia, and is not a cause of heel pain. However, because a heel spur is usually associated with the heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis,
heel pain is sometimes referred to as “heel spur syndrome.” Heel spurs result from strain on the heel bone by the stretching of the plantar fascia, the long band of tissue that connects the heel and the ball of the foot. Heel spurs may result from biomechanical imbalance, running or jogging, improperly fi tted or excessively worn shoes, or obesity. On rare occasions, the heel spur may fracture and pull away from the heel bone and could then be the cause of heel pain.