Youth Baseball & Heel Pain: should kids play through the pain?

Youth baseball, ptiching and foot painSpring has finally sprung and now there’s another baseball season that is about to begin. Travel leagues are continuing, while spring little league is beginning. Some of our children are playing both and that can lead to problems due to overuse that, as we know from our childhood, can contribute to injuries.

In our practice we are already noticing children coming into our offices complaining of heel pain. Kids with heel pain….not something many of us think about, but it happens more often than you may think.

What is causing my child’s heel pain?

Basically, what we’re dealing with is an irritation of the growth plate of the heel bone. This bone is also known as the Calcaneus.  As children grow, their bones naturally lengthen and their tendons slowly stretch and become longer. The stretching and pull of the Achilles tendon on the back of the heel bone can cause irritation and inflammation of the calcaneal growth plate. This irritation and inflammation, commonly known as Severs Disease or Calcaneal Apophysitis, is the pain your child is complaining about.

Sometimes the act of simply growing is enough to cause irritation to the growth plate. Add repetitive foot movements associated with baseball to the mix, and it’s easy to see how the repeated heel trauma can trigger or exasperate symptoms.

Gowth plate injuries in heel, Baseball injuriesThe required motion to play certain positions in baseball may increase the likelihood of your child having heel pain. The most common position associated with heel pain is pitching. Due to the increased pressure to the heel required to transfer weight during the pitching motion, and the direct trauma to the heel to accept weight to the lower extremity, we see more frequent inflammation of the heel. Remember, we are talking about children under the age of 16, so they are still growing.

Sometimes these ailments carried over from the previous season and continued play can aggravate the condition. And today many children are playing a single sport, year round without a break.  This continued stress on the same muscles and specific parts of the foot puts your child at risk for a growth plate injury.

Should your child play baseball with heel pain?

Certain movements increase trauma to the heels of your child. Playing baseball may contribute to local aches and pains for our young players. But unless we see local swelling, it is rare that complete rest is necessary. Usually, we suggest reducing local inflammation with icing for 5 to 10 minutes. Remember, these are areas that we do not want to reduce blood flow to for an extended period of time. Immobilization in the evening, as well as stretching of the Achilles tendon will help reduce inflammation locally. Adequate rest between practices and games is also recommended.

We recommend players protect the region in the short term and see their foot and ankle specialist for a complete evaluation if the discomfort persists. For more information about heel pain and children, we encourage you to call us at (877) 989-9110 or visit us at www.footankleinstitute.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

five × 2 =

  • Yelp
    Excellent thorough care. Absolutely tops in getting me in after 30 days of negligent care from another podiatrist.  Dr Campbell whom I saw here in Santa Barbara CA  was able to see me within 48 hours of my desperate c...
    Sharon D.
  • CustomerSure
    Dr. Briskin is the best. He is very understanding and caring.
    Lan G.
  • Yelp
    My toes are so happy, they're crying "tee-hee-hee all the way home" thanks to Dr. Gary Briskin.  He's perfect!  He solved a problem I've had for a long, long time.  For a few years, I've had to wear spongy "toe guards...
    J.D.
  • CustomerSure
    Dr. Briskin is fantastic. A great doctor, as well as a warm caring person.
    Elisa B.
  • CustomerSure
    Love Dr. Briskin! He was so reassuring and helpful. Had a fantastic experience!
    Shana F.
  • Yelp
    I recently saw Dr. Baravarian for an issue I was having with my tibia.  I was referred to him by my primary physician.  I am SO happy that I met him.  After a few office visits with him, and a very successful surgery,...
    Yesenia B.
  • CustomerSure
    So far everything is going well. I really like Dr. Baravarian and his staff, they did a wonderful job. They are very compassionate and professional at the same time. My family and I are very happy and thankful we fou...
    Jeanette D.
  • CustomerSure
    Your institute is one of the best!
    Hana A.
  • CustomerSure
    Very helpful that my doctor plays hockey since I had a hockey injury!
    Kristina W.
  • Yelp
    Dr. Morris took the time to listen, diagnose, and answer many questions I had.  In combination of his treatment, suitable ankle support, and physical therapy sessions, which prescribed by Dr. Morris, I was able to hea...
    Margaux H.
Same day appointments now available!
or call us:
  • University Foot & Ankle, a Preferred Provider to:
  • UCLA Health System - UCLA Medical Group
  • MPTF - Member Industry Health Network
  • Cirque du Soleil
  • ATP - Association of Tennis Professionals
  • And consulting physicians for:
  • C&S - Cedars-Sinai
  • Saint John's Health Center