There’s simply no substitute for organized game play in a child’s physical, emotional and mental development. Even non-organized physical activity is important, like climbing trees, going for a swim on a hot Saturday, or riding a bicycle to a friend’s house.
But kids are notorious for not complaining about their injuries, for any number of reasons. And injuries at such a young age can literally change the development of every muscle in their body, as the uninjured parts compensate for the injured parts. As a parent, you need a sharp eye to watch for changes in behavior or body language, even though we all know how hard that is.
Signs of possible unspoken injury to a child’s feet or ankles may include changes in their gait, occasional limping, favoring one foot over another, walking on their toes, problems running, or unusual fatigue.
The most common sports injury in children is heel pain. Many times this can be simple plantar fasciitis from overuse, usually controlled with pain medicine, rest, icing and if necessary, physical therapy and custom orthotics to be worn in their shoes. But it may also be a sign of Sever’s disease, an inflammation of the heel’s growth plate due to muscle strain and repetitive stress. This is especially common in highly active children and those carrying extra pounds.
Bear in mind that the symptoms of heel pain in adults are considerably different than heel pain in children. In adults, heel pain is usually worst in the morning upon rising, and subsides as the tissue warms up with light activity. But in children, heel pain usually doesn’t diminish as the child moves around – in fact it may get much worse.
If your child complains about heel pain, don’t take it lightly. Make an appointment with our office immediately for a thorough diagnosis, because early intervention is key to a continued healthy development.