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The top & sometimes back of the foot hurts when my 11 year old son run's

by Dawn
(Charleston, WV)

What could it be? Damage from new cleats, and needs time to heal or something else?

My son has always been active,strong and fast when he runs.He is 11 years old, 5ft.3 and weighs around 100lbs.We bought him new football cleats and after 1 week of wearing them he complained the top part of his feet hurt, right where the "bend' of the foot is. Also on one foot it hurts in the same place-the top at the bend, but goes around to the back of his heel.He can not run now or when he tries he ends up limping on both feet. We thought it was his new cleats so we bought two other types, and same thing.We tested him running in regular shoes and barefoot and it's the same pain, in same places.(The pain is also there now with his orginal old cleats, which wasn't there before; I only bought him new cleats because the tread was wearing down on these.) We also tested the pain with ankle supports on and a wrap, but the pain was still there. There is no swelling, no bruises, no signs of an injury.There is no pain to the touch or to "squeeze" anywhere on the foot or ankle, however there was a "little" tenderness when squeeze was done below the ankle in the dip. We've been doing light stretches and RICE even though he does not remember any injury or twisting or giving out of the ankles; only pain after buying the first set of new cleats. The intensity of his football workouts & running did increase the same day as him wearing the new cleats. He's mad now because he was the fastest on team and now cant run at all, and says he'll just bare through it or take a tylenol. We are concerned and don't want him "masking" a problem. He is very "tough" and never complains, he is rarely ill, and eats proper, and takes a child's multi-vitamin every day. His doctor says no need to bring him in unless the pain is while he's walking; her solution was to pull him out of sports and it'll stop, and she can right an excuse for no running in gym class. I don't agree with her, but our insurance will not cover another opinion, or pay for another doctor to see him. Any suggestions would be appreciated so much !! Thank you!

ANSWER

Hi Dawn,

Either the new cleats or some kind of twist or turn with his foot set off your son's pain. The problem is once the foot is injured it can linger regardless of which cleats he wears.
Because I do not have the luxury of being able to examine him, I do not have a diagnosis. I mention this because sometimes if the pain is due to a biomechanical problem, in other words, a malfunction in the way your son runs that has exacerbated itself in football, this type of condition can be treated with some sort of insert in his shoes, other wise the problem will just keep returning.
If this problem is nothing more than an injury and you are not in a position to see a foot specialist, then your best bet would be to rest and immobilize the foot to allow it to heal.
I do think the foot/feet warrant an xray to make sure he did not sustain a stress fracture, so hopefully your pediatrician offers those services.
I wish I could be more helpful but unfortunately to really make a proper diagnosis and thus find a solution, your son needs to be examined by someone who is familiar with foot pathology.

Marc Mitnick DPM
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