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What does your child’s foot pain mean?

Last Modified: December 23, 2020

Family Medicine

Foot pain

This post was written by Ashley Bojrab, DPM, FACFAS, ABPM, PPG – Podiatry.

Just like adults, children can experience foot pain. While they may struggle to communicate the specifics around their discomfort as well as a grownup could, chronic pain is never something to ignore.

Signs of pain

If your child doesn’t come out and say they are experiencing foot pain, there could be other signals there’s trouble. The child might start to avoid sports or certain types of activity, like walking long distances. They might complain that their “legs are tired.” They might begin limping or complaining about knee pain. All of these can be signs of foot trouble.


A number of foot pain issues can be tied to overuse of the muscles or tendons in a child’s foot. This is also attributed to the child’s anatomy. Discomfort is common in patients with flat feet or a foot that lacks an arch to help evenly distribute their weight.    

When to seek help

Parents may file these aches and pains under “growing pains,” but it would be best to have the child evaluated by a foot and ankle specialist. An exam and evaluation could help improve aches and pains and potentially help them avoid discomfort in the future by addressing the source of the problem. 


Surgery is not always the answer for a foot deformity, especially in children. Conservative treatment is almost always the best option because they have an immature skeleton, meaning their bones aren’t completely finished growing. With that in mind, it’s important that a child gets fitted for footwear and, if necessary orthotics, properly and frequently due to their ever-changing foot size. Orthotics and proper shoe gear could help the youngster feel better and get back to the activities he or she loves to do! 


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