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  • Writer's pictureMy Family Podiatry

Are Your Child’s Feet Sore Since Returning To School?

Updated: Jul 6, 2023

School has been back less than a week and you’re already hearing your child complain of sore legs and feet. After spending all that time and money on good school shoes, this can be frustrating but the sudden increase in activity can reveal painful issues.

Some of the most common issues we see when children return to school are foot and heel pain, shin splints, growing pains or excessive tiredness after activity. These issues are often caused by your child’s foot position and can be improved once the cause is identified.

Common Issues:

Foot and heel pain: In school age children, a number of the bones in the feet are still hardening and their rapid growth places unfamiliar loads on a lot of different structures. This can lead to pain through the arch of the foot and in the heel, especially after sports. Most common are Sever’s disease and plantar fasciitis.

Shin Splints: Caused by excessive strain on muscles in the lower leg, shin splints often occur after a return to sport or running around with friends on the oval at lunch. The position of the foot in walking and running can significantly increase the strain placed on the lower leg muscles resulting in shin splints. The pain will normally be felt in the front of the lower leg and comes on after activity.

Growing pains and excessive tiredness in the feet and legs: Growing pains are very common in children and it’s not unusual for your child to have tired feet after the first week back to school. When this tiredness stops your child wanting to participate in activities, it may be due to other issues such as hypermobility. Children who are hypermobile have much stretchier ligaments resulting in an overuse of muscles to stabilise their joints. This can lead to excessive fatigue and an increase in “growing pains” because the muscles becomes sore and tired.

Home remedies:

Massage of the feet and calves: As children are growing, their muscles can become very tight resulting in pain. Gently massaging feet and lower legs a couple of times a week may assist with this muscle tightness and reduce pain.

Check your child’s shoes: Your child’s shoe should have a firm heel counter, shank and be the appropriate depth and length (we discuss more about school shoes here).

Rest: Ensure your child is resting between activities, staying hydrated and getting adequate sleep.

Stretches: Calf stretches such as the one below can help to reduce some of the load being placed on the legs and feet. Holding stretches for 45-60 seconds at least once a day may help with some pain.

Cartoon image of a man performing a standing calf stretch
Calf stretch

How We Can Help:

At My Family Podiatry, we will perform a thorough biomechanical and gait assessment to identify the cause of the problem. Once we know why your child’s feet and legs are sore, we can come up with a solution. Typically this will involve a combination of orthotics, exercises, stretches and footwear advice to improve the function of your child’s feet and lower limb.

Similiar to your annual visit to the dentist, a routine podiatry check up is recommended to prevent issues. So if your child has been complaining about sore feet or legs, call My Family Podiatry on 3088 6116 or use the button below to book an appointment.

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