Pain in the heel bone of active adolescents
As the body develops the bones must grow, and there are ‘plates’ within the bones where most of the growth occurs. In the heel bone there is a region a centimetre or so in from the back called a growth plate that can become disrupted and painful in overly active children.
The child may report pain with activity or appear to walk on their toes, in bad cases pain is also present at rest. The pain is at the back of the heel and does not usually involve the Achilles tendon. Assessment by a podiatrist will determine the particular areas that are affected, and this influences management.
Orthotic therapy can be helpful in some cases, but a simple heel lift in suitable sports shoes can be very effective also. Strapping and strengthening may also be advised. Generally, the condition will improve over time, but recurrences can occur in conjunction with growth spurts.