What is heel pain in children (Severs disease or Calcaneal apophysitis)?
Heel pain, unlike the heel spurs, that occur in adults is very uncommon in children. Of those children who do get heel pain, by far the most common cause is a disturbance to the growing area at the back of the heel bone (calcaneus) where the strong achilles tendon attaches to it. This is known as Sever’s disease or calcaneal apophysitis (inflammation of the growth plate).
It is most common between the ages of 10 to 14 years of age.
Symptoms of Sever’s Disease
- Pain is usually felt at the back, bottom and side of the heel bone.
- The pain is usually relieved when the child is not active and becomes painful with sport.
- Squeezing the sides of the heel bone is often painful.
- Running and jumping make the symptoms worse.
- In more severe cases, the child may be limping.
Treatment of heel pain in children
Treatment of Sever’s disease starts with a biomechanical assessment and treatment is a combination of the following;
- An accurate analysis of your child’s gait, muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints on a video/sensor gait analysis computer gait plate.
- Specific stretching and strengthening exercises often make up part of the treatment after review of whole body mechanics, functional strength and flexibility tests.
- Anti-inflammatory measures such as ice baths after exercise can be helpful in the short term.
- Footwear review, assessment and advice is important and given at time of initial assessment if needed.
- Heel lifts maybe prescribed and strapping/taping shown.
- Orthotic devices are often needed to firstly control any abnormal traction or tension on the heel growth plate and, secondly, too unload the ground reaction forces on the heel bone. Our specialised weight-bearing comfortable functional orthotics if needed is very tolerable by the child and fit into most children’s shoes.
Sole Therapy has podiatrists with specific paediatric training enabling them to utilise treatment options to relieve heel pain in children very quickly. If your child is struggling to play sport and heel pain is getting him/her down it is time to see a podiatrist.
We can help.