Children will often experience this particular growing pain between the ages of 10 and 14 for girls and 12 and 16 for boys. The secondary ossification center (the part of the bone that lets us keep growing and makes parents buy more and more shoes) will begin to close in the heel bone at this time. When our Achilles tendon is tight (as it is in most people) it pulls on its attachment to the back of the heel bone and causes friction at that ossification center, which can lead to pain when walking or performing activities!
Another way to look at it is the Oreo cookie analogy – the heel bone and the secondary ossification center are the cookie parts and the white cream filling is the new bone trying to fuse down. When we move the two cookie pieces along and against one anther, we create friction, and sometimes the filling gets smashed or falls out. In this case that friction = cookie filling smashed = pain in our kids.
The good news is we have easy, conservative solutions that can keep our children active in their sport and keep us from worrying! If your child is complaining of heel pain, give us a call at 847.639.5800 today to schedule a consultation.