The Causes of Heel Pain in Kids

By Dr. Brian Gale, DPM, FACFAS
December 23, 2014
Category: Heel Pain

The Causes of Heel Pain in Kids

Heel pain is common in kids, because the heel bone (calcaneus) is not fully developed until the age of 14.  There are many causes of heel pain in kids, especially because of the stress on the bone that is growing at the growth plate (physis). 

The most common causes of pediatric heel pain include:

-Calcaneal Apophysitis. (Sever’s disease).  It is not a true disease, but is an inflammation of the growth plate due to repetitive stress.  It is common in those children that are active or obese.  It causes the heel to be tender in the back and bottom and is painful to the touch.  It is also the most common cause of heel pain in kids.

-Tendo-Achilles Bursitis.   This is an inflammation in the fluid filled sac that is located between the Achilles tendon and the heel bone.  A few causes of tendo-achilles bursitis include; wearing poorly cushioned shoes, certain disease (juvenile rheumatoid arthritis), or an injury to the heel.

-Overuse Syndrome. Heel pain can be a sign of overuse in kids because the growth plate is sensitive.  It is most common in kids involved in sports such as soccer, basketball, or track.  One syndrome of overuse is Achilles tendonitis which is an inflammation of the tendon common in children over the age of 14.  Plantar fasciitis is another overuse syndrome.  This is an inflammation of the plantar fascia (band of tissue that runs from the heel to the toes).

-Fractures.   Stress fractures occur in kids involved in sports when training intensity changes suddenly.  Acute fractures can occur in children under 10 years old from jumping just 2-3 feet.


Diagnosing a child with heel pain can be difficult.  It is best to see a podiatrist, like Dr. Brian Gale, DPM, FACFAS, that is qualified to determine the cause of pain.  Contact Us at 701-255-3338 to set up an appointment today.


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