MD Podiatrist Discusses Use of Cleats in Young Athletes

According to Daniel Michaels, DPM, “Cleats are traditionally used by soccer, baseball, softball, and football players at young ages. But cleats can create problems with growth: There is a large growth center at the back and bottom of the heel which is susceptible to stress from running and jumping; this spot can be aggravated by cleats. Most heel pain in pre-teens and adolescents is related to this. Get your youngsters into a multiple nub shoe that spreads the pressure more evenly. These heel conditions, often called Sever’s apophysitis are quite common in cleats that are positioned right under this area. 
“Other growth centers under the balls of the feet and specifically the big toe also can be aggravated with cleats. I would like to see routinely no cleats before adolescence, but ‘tradition’ makes this a tough sell. If heel problems persist or recur, get podiatrist or medical evaluation as often foot type (for example, high arches or excessively pronated feet) compounds the problem. I’ve had great success with orthotics for these kids!,” says Dr. Michaels.