When children resume athletic activities after a winter or summer break, it’s not unusual to hear them complain about pain in their heels. This is usually due to an increase in physical activity as soccer leagues, little leagues, and spring sports begin and children generally spend more time outdoors.
Podiatrists refer to heel pain in children as Calcaneal Apophysitis, or Sever’s Disease.
What is Calcaneal Apophysitis?
Between the ages of eight and fourteen, a child’s bones grow faster than their tendons. This causes the tendon at the back of the heel to pull on the growth plate of the heel (a growth plate is an area of growing tissue within the bone that determines the future length and shape of the bone). This action creates a great deal of tension between the two and the result is irritation, pain, and sometimes a more serious condition. During this time, the bone in the heel is still immature and is more prone to injury.
If your child complains about heel pain, it’s important that you don’t let them “play with pain”, as it could cause much more damage to the heel and tendons. Your child’s heel pain usually will not improve with activity. In fact, walking around typically makes the pain worse.
How to relieve your child’s heel pain
- To get your child’s heel pain under control, make sure they rest, elevate and ice their heel, and begin taking Advil or Aleve to reduce the inflammation which is causing the pain. Make an appointment with PA Foot And Ankle Associates right away for a thorough exam and diagnosis. Our treatment may include:
- Cushioning the heel
- Physical therapy
- Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory drugs
- Custom made orthotic devices
- surgery (for cases where the tendon may need to be corrected)
A complaint of heel pain from your child is an indication that they have a condition that needs attention. Dr Teichman at PA Foot And Ankle Associates is expert at treating sports injuries in children.