Toddler Frequently Complains of Foot Pain

Updated on January 21, 2011
L.C. asks from Beverly, MA
11 answers

Not sure what is going on with my 30 month old son - in the past month he has been complaining with his limited vocabulary that his foot hurts, or as he says "Toe hurts".
But points to the bottom of his foot (either left or right, sometimes both). Not everyday, just once in awhile. The first time it happened he was screaming and crying, so we called the pediatrician's office but the next day he seemed fine. We take off his shoe, socks and he demands we kiss his boo boo. Sometimes he says "broken". We thought his shoes were too small, or maybe a dog hair was poking thru his sock. It seems he says it more often later in the day, but last week he said it first thing in the morning when he got up, his best time of the day - and then as he pressed his feet down to help out during his AM diaper change, he said "toe hurt" again. So, I called the DR office again, and they recommended an xray of the foot he indicated (right) but the xray showed no broken bones or anything unusual. Tonight he complained frequently about both feet, and was crying almost inconsollably (sp) and writhing as if in pain. Husband says he then limped a little. Called the on-call nurse of the DR office - said we want to see a specialist. So, in the morning have to call back for the name of an orthopedic DR. I'm thinking its cramping or muscle spasms? Growing pains? That seems too broad a term. Anyone else have similar experiences with their little ones? This boy is otherwise healthy, and very active.

What can I do next?

  • Add your own comment
  • Ask your own question
  • Join the Mamapedia community
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Today we visited an orthopedic doctor - Dr David St Pierre in Salem. DR was OK except that he seemed to schedule more than one appt in a time slot and we had to wait an hour. Said nothing seems out of the ordinary and that perhaps Sam jumped off of something and had a bruise? He took a look at the xrays too. Said Sam has flat feet which run in my family but that that shouldn't cause pain. Guess now we'll wait and see. Thank you to all who sent suggestions - will keep them in mind if this continues.

Additional Follow-up: My son is now 5 years old (January 2011) and I see that others have commented with similar experiences with their own young children. I can report that the episodes did decrease gradually and it hasn't happened recently! When it did, we fed him banana (even in the middle of the night) had him drink fluids in case he was dehydrated and massaged his legs or feet until he quieted down. Now that it is seemingly in the past, I'd have to say it was growing pains - and he does have pretty big feet for his age! It is just so hard to see your baby in pain! Good luck to all you out there going thru it now.

Featured Answers



answers from Boston on

He's the right age for Kohler's disease, but it could be something else, too. I wouldn't ignore it. I recommend you see a pediatric orthopaedic specialist (like through Children's Hospital).


More Answers


answers from Hartford on

I would suggest cranial sacral therapy. Foot pain is usually coming from some nerve impingement from either the hip or below the knee. There is a D.O., Dr. Ted Strayer, in Hamden that was great with my child and many physical therapists and massage therapists are trained in cranial sacral work. You can go to the Upledger Institute website to look for people in your area. For Dr. Strayer you should be able to find him on google by typing in his name and Hamden, CT. In the meantime you can use some gentle massage on his body, legs, feet, if he lets you and tolerates it...maybe ask him to tell you where it hurts when you do it.
Good luck!!



answers from Des Moines on

My son is almost 3. He has been complaining of foot pain for about a year now. The complaints seem exactly the same as yours! But a lot of times he will wake up in the middle of the night screaming and crying that his foot hurts. Everytime he complains, I have to rub the bottom of his foot really hard. It sounds like cramping to me, but doesn't seem normal! He has his 3 year check up next week and am going to talk to the doctor.



answers from New London on

My son had frequent bouts of foot/leg pain. We used warm baths, massage and when it got really bad baby tylenol. It seemed worse when he had been really active during the day. With my child it seemed to come and go. The doctor put it down to growing pains.



answers from Hartford on

i used to have this problem. one of my earliest memories is my dad in my room rubbing my legs through the rungs of my crib as im screaming in pain. the dr called them growing pains, and when she sent us to a specialist when i was 6, that dr said to eat more potassium. still to this day, im 23 and get these "growing pains", and ill have a banana or two and i usually feel better after a bit. i also take motrin for it.
good luck, and hang in there. i know how hard it is to see our little ones in pain!!



answers from Boston on

The Same thing happened to our 2 year old daughter. She was waking in the middle of the night with horrible pain in her feet.. then it started to go to move up her legs. She would cry so hard, and we felt helpless. Our Pedi suggested Growing pains and to increase her Bananna intake. We did add some extra bananna's to her diet , and a few other bone building fruits and veggies. This lasted about 3 days and so far.. she hasn't had the re occuring pain.




answers from Boston on

Great that you are following up with conventional medicine b/c it could be any number of things: orthopedic or circulation. B/C he is so persistant with it, that would point to it being SOMETHING.

I would also suggest reflexology. They study the foot and it's connections to all the other organs in the body. It's all connected. I know a wonderful and patient reflexologist with young boys of her own if you are interested in that route. Let me know [email protected]



answers from Boston on

You need a podiatrist. A foot doctor. Their specialty is just the foot. Take the x-rays with you that have already been taken at your doctor's office. They will be able to tell you quickly what the problem is. My daughter was 2 when we noticed that she was having troubles with her feet. Getting up first thing in the morning she did the same thing as your son. We took her to a podiatrist and found out she has Haglunds. A rarity in someone young. He gave us options and good ideas for everyday coping. She is now 23(wow, time flies!) and still has pain some days, but knows what to do to alleviate the pain.



answers from New York on

My daughter has recently been complaining of the same problem. She is 16 months old and about 2 weeks ago I was at my parents house and she started limping on her right foot. She would cry and point down to her heel. I checked it out to see if maybe she stepped on a piece of glass or maybe got a splinter from the floor but could see nothing. I would rub it or move it in circles and it would be fine, but as soon as she would go to take a step she would fall over and grab her foot crying. Then tonight the same thing happened and i was just about to take her to the emergency room and she started walking around fine. Like nothing happened. I dont know whats going on with her but its starting to scare me.



answers from Boston on

hi L.!
My 6 year old has for most of her little life suffered from cramping and groing pains.At first I did'nt know what to do about it and had talked about it with her Dr. I decided to keep track of when it was happening and it seemed as though it was usually during the nights she would (and still) get up manic in pain, this would happen if we had a very active day such as a lot of physical activities and frquently during the summer and warmer weather.My suggestions to you is to really push extra fluids on more active days and also warm baths to ease muscles before bed.During a spasm I would massage the area but before that if he gets up in pain always have him take a drink of water and if really bad Tylenol or Motrin seem to help.I also try to offer foods rich with potassium such as bananas to prevent.Good Luck and I hope this has been helpful.



answers from Barnstable on

Last week I took my two year old son for blood work and xrays because he was waking up every night for two weeks crying and screaming about his shins and feet. and same thing he would hold his foot or shin and say "hurts" or "broken" so when the pain was really bad I would give him motrin and he would go back to sleep. Xrays and blood came back negative. So Im amsuming its growing pains. Sorry that I cant be much help as we are going through the same thing :)

Next question: Growing Pains ?? Help!