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Heel pain

What is heel pain?

Heel pain is experiencing pain or discomfort underneath, around or deep inside the heel of the foot. The calcaneum is a large bone which makes up the majority heel and surrounding it are many ligaments, muscles, tendons, nerves, vessels and soft tissue. The heel and it's surrounding structures make up a complicated mechanism, due to this heel pain in children could be a result of a number of reasons.

Children's feet are different to those of an adult, newborn baby's feet are entirely made of cartilage and continue to develop into bone from there on, therefore conditions and treatment for heel pain in a child may differ to those of an adult

What causes heel pain?

Heel pain in children could be due to a number of reasons. Children are often prone to damaging themselves through trauma, bruises, broken bones and fractures. The bones of the feet in children are not fully developed until around the late teens and can be quite different in structure, areas of cartilage that develop into bones as we age can be susceptible to damage with excess tensions, known as ‘growing pains'.

  • Flat feet and overpronation
  • Standing for long periods
  • Unstable footwear (shoes that have no support)
  • Tight calf muscles
  • Obesity
  • High arches
  • Fracture of the calcaneus (heel bone)
  • Neural pain
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Sever's disease

What are the signs and symptoms of heel pain?

The signs and symptoms of heel pain include:

  • Burning
  • Throbbing
  • Swelling
  • Pain when walking

How is heel pain diagnosed?

A podiatrist at can diagnose whether heel pain is due to poor biomechanics through gait analysis and a number of examinations carried out standing, sitting and lying, the podiatrist will then advise and treat accordingly.

Benefit of podiatry for heel pain

Receiving treatment for heel pain through a podiatrist you can expect:

  • Reduction in pain
  • Reduction in inflammation
  • Improved gait
  • Improved foot and lower limb function
  • Decrease in muscle tightness

What would podiatry for heel pain involve?

One of our podiatrists will go through the history of the problem and medical history. They will then perform a series of examinations which could involve analysing the walking style, assessing the range and quality of motions in the joints and looking at the foot structure in relation to the pain. The podiatrist will try and reciprocate the pain to determine the cause.


Heel pain in children can occur for various reasons, if heel pain is chronic or causing difficulty undertaking activities it is best to consult a podiatrist, heel pain in children can usually be managed with provision of orthoses, good footwear choices and exercises.

If you wish to speak to our podiatrist about a child with heel pain, or to arrange an assessment with one our podiatrists please email or call 0330 088 4222.

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