30 answers

Soccer Player's Feet Hurt

Hello! My 10-year old has been playing soccer for 5 years and is a competitive player. Whenever he plays his regular schedule (practices and games about 4-5 times per week), his feet hurt. Sometimes he doesn't even admit it, but he walks (and runs) as though they hurt. His feet are a tiny bit flat, but they don't hurt with normal activities. He uses Birkenstock orthotics in his regular shoes and tried them in his soccer shoes, but that didn't help. Does anybody have experience with this? Do more expensive shoes help? (It seems to me that no soccer shoes have cushioning or support, so it's hard for me to see a difference in spending more). I remember somebody telling me once that heel cups can help soccer players with foot pain. I just thought I'd see if anybody out there has had experience with this.

1 mom found this helpful

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So What Happened?™

Wow! I never expected to receive so much professional advice - doctors, chiropractors, trainers, professional soccer players. It was amazing! I guess we're going to try some of the suggesions we can do at home and also make an appointment with a podiatrist, just to be sure there's nothing else going on. Thanks so much to everyone who responded!

Featured Answers

Take him to a sports store that specializes in fitting shoes. Maybe even a running store, there is a good one in Palo Alto (Metro Sport) and see if they can recommend inserts for his shoes. There are several types. My daughter was complaining of pain in her feet and calves and they were very knowledgeable and fit her with proper shoes and recommended some inserts that really seemed to help. Good luck.

More Answers


Have you taken your son to a podiatrist? Quite a few of my friends wear orthodics in their cleats and have pain if they don't. Also so many games are played on turf nowadays and he should wear turf shoes on those surfaces(less likely to turn his ankle). I play soccer in a few leagues here in the bay area (2-4 matches a week). I was a runner in high school and college and dealt with plantar fasciatis and had to take off quite a bit of time to recover. He may also have a stress fracture in one of the bones. All these things need to be checked out by a doctor to assess.

I highly recommend you read the book " Revolution in the Bleachers". A ten yr old who has been playing competitive soccer for 5 yrs is way too much on his little body. I referee, have played premier soccer, coached by ODP. I have found that many of our kids that are pushed at too young an age grow tired of the stress and the sport by 16. It is very sad to see. I would recommend that you make sure he cross trains(does other sports not just soccer) it will keep him from getting hurt and having over use injuries.

If he is meant to be a super soccer star he will still be.
I am encouraging my kids to try many different activities even though mommy is a soccer NUT. If you haven't read the book I mentioned above run out and buy it. It is a must read to every parent who's kids are heavily into sports. It will give you alot to think about and may offer some balance.(this is coming from a player, coach, referee of the sport....i completely agree with many of the things in this book and have seen it in the parents, kids, coaches here in bay area over the last 16 yrs)

I hope your son is okay,

T. C
my son alternates between swim, soccer, golf, baseball(and not at the same time)

2 moms found this helpful

When my son was about 7 he developed really painful feet, mostly heel pain. It got worse with exercise, and especially bad after a jump rope fund raiser. He was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis by his regular doc. My son, like me, has very high arches, unlike your son, but I do think that either flat or high arches can lead to this...especially when a kid is going through a growth spurt. We had to place orthotics in all of his shoes and we had to by expensive athletic shoes for school. Liam does play sooccer, but not competively. Here are some things that worked for us:

Freeze a plastic water bottle and then have him roll his foot on it for about ten minutes every night. This reduces inflammation.

Google plantar fasciitis and massage. There are massage and stretching exercises that can help.

I know he is a comp player, but you might want to think about cutting back on practices. I found that if Liam was having a rough spell that a break from things like track and soccer really helped stop the inflammation. We did swimming instead, which is great because it is non-weight bearing. By the way, he is now 9 and very rarely experiences any pain as the growth spurts have slowed down for a bit.

Hope this helps.


1 mom found this helpful

My 7 yr old's daughter's feet have hurt for years now. We took her to a good podiatrist and he fit her for orthodics. Turned out her lower leg bones never developed (where the inner bone becomes longer to match the outer bone) and she really was in pain at the end of a day. We had trouble getting her to exercise and everything... The orthodics really have helped a great deal and may even help her body correct the delay in bone development. They are easy to use and just slip into any shoe. You need to wear them about 70% of the time for them to work well. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi R.,
I feel that getting your son's feet adjusted and worked on by a Chiropractor who specializes in muscle work (and not just spinal alignment) would benefit him the most. Especially since the orthotics seem to help him in regular shoes. Sometimes the orthotics are too rigid and thus don't work well in athletic shoes. I suggest a semi-rigid orthotic and also have his feet worked on! I, myself, work on many people's feet and customize orthotics for different reasons. It is amazing the results you get with it! Also, since he is playing a lot of soccer and will be going into his growth spurts soon, this should be addressed sooner than later.
If you have any other questions, feel free to e-mail me at my personal e-mail address: ____@____.com Good luck!

Take him to a sports store that specializes in fitting shoes. Maybe even a running store, there is a good one in Palo Alto (Metro Sport) and see if they can recommend inserts for his shoes. There are several types. My daughter was complaining of pain in her feet and calves and they were very knowledgeable and fit her with proper shoes and recommended some inserts that really seemed to help. Good luck.

Hi R.,
Orthotics need to be custom made (by having a plaster casting done or laser measurements taken, not by standing in a foam tray, btw, as some cruddy docs will do). Also, orthotics worn for sports are made from different material than ones made for everyday walking around. Wearing the wrong orthotic can cause more pain than wearing none at all. Orthotics also need to be eased into (a few hours the first day, building up to all day wear). If your son really needs orthotics, he should wear non-sports ones and sports ones as well. Yoga feet stretches are a great idea as well. Once the feet get messed up, the issues go to the ankles and then the knees and then the hips and then the back...you get the point. You might want to take him to an osteopath as well.

I have very high arches and have plantar fascitis (sp?) because of it. This is when the tendons in the feet get small tears in them, because of the strain placed on the foot when you have a very high or very low arch. It's kind of like having shin-splints, but in your feet.

I've been to an orthopedic surgeon about it, as well as a podiatrist, and the answer they gave me is - wear shoes with arch support at all times (even when you're walking around the house), and also... unfortunately you need to give your feet a rest for several weeks. So your son may need to lay off of soccer for a while to allow his feet to heal, and then ease back into it, but always have him wear arch support. (We all wear Crocs in our household as slippers/flip-flops - they provide great arch support when you're not wearing "real" shoes.)

Hi R.,
First off, I'm going to read the book the other mom recommended - it sounds interesting.

Really though, I'm writing about my husband. He played semi-pro for years in England. He does buy the nice "football boots" as he calls them. The ones he has now are made out of kangaroo leather and were purchased at a soccer store. I think they were in the 60-70 dollar range. He tried other shoes - they made his feet hurt or fell apart. He has flat feet too.

Good luck.

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