Hi. I’m Dr. Sonam Ruit. At Martin Foot and Ankle, we see a wide variety of pediatric foot problems. Two common ones are pediatric heel pain and pediatric flat foot deformity. Pediatric heel pain can be quite painful and annoying to the child. This condition is due to inflammation of the growth plate in the heel as a result of imbalance in the growth of the bone and soft tissues. It is common among the ages of 8-13 for girls and between 10-15 for boys. Sometimes symptoms can range from pain, swelling, discomfort, stiffness in the heel upon walking. These patients are typically walking on their toes to avoid pressure on their heels. This condition is common in sports like track, basketball, soccer, and gymnastics, which involves a lot of running and jumping on hard surfaces. Treatment for this is condition is primarily conservative, which involves stretching, rest, ice, and compression. Some require anti-inflammatory medication, immobilization, physical therapy, and shoe-gear modification. However, in pediatric flat foot deformity, while most are not painful, some can be painful. Symptoms can range from pain, tenderness, and cramping in the foot, leg, and knee. They also present with gait abnormalities, difficulty with shoes, and complain of activity fatigue.

Diagnosis is made with patients standing as well as in the seated position. We also observe how the child walks, evaluating the range of motion, flexibility, and strength. Often weight bearing X-rays are taken to evaluate the severity of the flat foot deformity. Sometimes MRI or CT scan may even be necessary. Treatments vary and depend on the symptoms as well as the severity of the deformity. In cases of mild flat foot deformity, they do not necessarily require any treatment; we simply observe these patients periodically to see any abnormal changes. However, the more prominent and painful flat foot patients do require some treatment. They benefit well from custom orthotics or arch supports. Other treatments are physical therapy, activity modification, anti-inflammatory modification, as well as shoe-gear modification. Finally, those who fail conservative treatments then require surgical intervention.

If you suspect your child has any heel pain or flat foot deformity, you need to see us at Martin Foot and Ankle.