Foot Pain In The Obese Child

The rate of childhood obesity has tripled in the last 3 decades. In 2010 the obesity rate for children was 16.9 %. Childhood obesity can result in a more flattened foot structure leading to instability of the foot. As a result I am seeing more children with foot and ankle pain. The problem is that these children should exercise but can’t because there feet hurt.

Common conditions associated with the obese child:

  • Plantar fasciitis – flattening of the arch and increased weight results in excessive tension on the band that runs from the heel to the tips of the toes.
  • Calcaneal apophysitis – (severe disease) inflammation of the growth plate due to excessive stress.
  • Stress fractures due to excessive stress placed on the foot.
  • Ingrown toenails are typically due to excessive pressure on nail plate due to poor fit of the shoes.

Prevention and treatment:

  • Proper shoe gear is critical.  I prefer a cross trainer style sneaker for support.  Have them measured.  The child may need a wider width to insure proper fit.
  • OTC innersoles to provide additional support
  • Orthotics
  • Physical therapy
  • Low impact exercise program – walking or swimming
  • Modify diet and eating

How do you know if your child’s is having a foot problem?

  • Don’t want to show you their feet
  • Ingrown toenails
  • Stop activities that they love to do.
  • Can’t keep up with their friends.
  • Don’t want to go to gym class.
  • Complain feet hurt or are tired.

*If you are concerned your child is having a foot problem and would like them to be evaluated by one of our physicians please call our office (numbers below) or fill out the contact form and we will contact you.


I suffered with chronic heel pain for over a year. I finally went to see Dr. Fritz who examined me and performed X-rays on the same visit. He diagnosed me with plantar fasciitis. After a course of physical therapy, a cortisone shot and a pair of custom orthotics I’m able to walk pain free again.

- Jeff C.

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