Plantar Fasciitis in Teenagers

Plantar Fasciitis in Teenagers

Plantar Fasciitis in Teenagers

Plantar fasciitis or heel pain can occur in children from the age of eight years old until around thirteen to fifteen years. This is due to children going through growth spurts and increased sporting activity in schools. The pain can occur in the growth plate of the heel bone, where new bone is forming to accommodate for the adolescents’ lengthening feet. For some teenagers the growth plate has closed and the insertion point of the plantar fascia (ligament) on the heel is what causes the pain symptoms. This is known as plantar fasciitis.

Plantar fasciitis can present as sharp pain in the heel, especially first thing in the morning, but it gets better after a few minutes of walking around. The pain can be worse after exercise. It can also gradually get worse over time.

There are other conditions that can present as plantar fasciitis in teenagers. These conditions can be Sever’s disease, tendonitis, bursitis or even a fracture. It is important to see a podiatrist as soon as possible. This will allow them to make a full assessment to ensure the condition is diagnosed appropriately. Therefore, you will be advised on the right management or treatment options for the condition.

There are a few factors that can cause heel pain. Tight calf muscles can put more pressure on your feet, as they can make it harder to flex your foot while walking or running. Sports or increased activity can put more strain on your feet. Footwear that is not supportive while walking or running, can put more strain on your feet, therefore causing inflammation of the tendons, ligaments or joints. Foot posture or the shape of your feet such as high arches, flat feet or other foot problems, can affect weight distribution while you stand. This putting you at risk to develop plantar fasciitis or other foot problems.

Treating plantar fasciitis when it first occurs is important. This will allow the healing time to be shorter and faster, which means a quicker recovery time. There are several ways to treat this condition at home In the acute stage:

  • Rest your feet
  • Ice for the acute stage (less than 4 weeks) or heat packs in the chronic stage of the condition (4 weeks +)
  • Stretching calf muscles and feet

Sometimes, the pain can get worse or does not improve over time. Seeking professional help is always advised as there are other treatment options that can be discussed. These options are:

  • Orthotics, which are measured and adjusted to your feet
  • Advise on footwear
  • Dry needling
  • Strapping
  • Shockwave therapy