Most teenagers have perfected the art of complaining. They don’t like what’s for dinner, parents bugging them, going to school, waking up—you name it. However, if your teenager starts complaining about foot pain, it’s best you don’t chalk it up as typical teen behavior. There are two conditions in particular that can hamper teenage feet: Tarsal coalition and Sever’s disease. Knowing what these teen foot problems are and being able to spot symptoms early will allow you to help your son or daughter stop complaining (at least about their foot pain)!
Fixes for Fused Bones
The tarsal bones are found at the back of the foot and usually work together to help with movement and function. Sometimes, however, these bones develop incorrectly and instead of being separate, they are fused together. Although this can be caused by arthritis, infection, or injury, most times, people are simply born with this condition but don’t realize it until symptoms start popping up in the teen years. Signs of tarsal coalition include pain, stiffness, fatigue, muscle spasms, and an acquired limp.
Treatment depends on the severity of the condition and can consist of oral or injected medication, physical therapy, immobilization with a boot or cast, or in severe situations, surgical intervention.
Solutions for Sever’s Disease
Although this sounds especially concerning, this condition is not actually a disease, but rather an issue stemming from a discrepancy in the growth rate of teenage feet. It occurs when your active child goes through a growth spurt and his or her heel bone grows faster than the muscles, tendons and ligaments that connect to it, mainly the Achilles tendon. The faster-growing heel bone causes the tight Achilles to pull in resistance, and the results are pain, tenderness, swelling, limping, and a sudden disinterest in usual activities.
This condition tends to go away on its own once your child is fully grown, but you can ease symptoms in the meantime with ice, anti-inflammatory medication, stretches, and supportive shoes as well as heel pads or orthotics.
If your teenager is complaining of foot pain, pay a visit to Dr. Harvey Danciger to determine if one of these teen foot problems is to blame. You can schedule an appointment at our Palm Desert, CA office by dialing (760) 568-0108. You might want to avoid making it too early in the morning, though – just saying.