One of the most common conditions we see in children is heel pain, particularly in active and healthy kids. The most common cause of this pain is a growth related injury known as calcaneal apophysitis, or Sever’s disease. Sever’s occurs when there is a disturbance or injury of the growth plate in the heel caused by increased load through the calf muscle complex and achilles tendon.
The pain tends to arise in children who are between the ages of 9 and 12 years old, normally presents as pain in the back or side of the heel, with one or both heels being affected. It is generally worse after activity, and the onset is often following an acute increase in exercise – although it can also be triggered by poor foot posture and function. During this period the growth plate is fusing and the overload can cause stress on the forming bone and cartilage in the area.
In majority of cases the pain disappears once the growth plate fuses, however, until this occurs pain can come and go. In severe circumstances, or if left untreated, Sever’s can also cause injury to the achilles tendon, both acute and chronic.
If your child has complained of heel pain it is best to seek assessment and treatment as soon as possible, this is to reduce the risk of the severe inflammation and reduces the need to rest from sport.
At All Podiatry & The Shoe Co. we treat a number of children. Our podiatrists can assess the injury, and your child’s biomechanics, and provide advice as to the best course of treatment both in clinic and at home. The aim is to reduce the stress on the growth plate by reducing the load through the achilles tendon and calf complex.
This commonly involves:
Modifying activity levels
Avoiding barefoot walking
Strapping or taping the foot to reduce movement
Changes to footwear
Orthotics and/or heel raises
Our podiatrists understand the importance of keeping kids active and healthy, and are committed to reducing the pain and returning them to sport as soon as possible.