Does your child experience heel pain?
April 13, 2010 Posted by Dr.Murray
If your child is experiencing heel pain, he/she may have a condition known as Calcaneal Apophysitis (aka Sever’s disease). It is typically present in children of ages 8-12 years who are physically active; usually gymnasts and soccer players. However and overweight child may also be at risk as the excess weight may cause extra stress and pressure on the calcaneal apophysis. This condition is basically an injury of the growth plate in the calcaneus (heel bone). The calcaneus forms a separate apophysis on the posterior inferior aspect which appears at 8 years and fuses around 14-16 years of age therefore this is rarely seen in older children/teenagers. During the time of growth, which is early puberty, the muscles and tendons in this area tend to be less flexible and any running and jumping activity may predispose your child to this condition. Your podiatrist may perform a squeeze test where you child will experience pain when the back of the heel is squeezed on both sides. They may also find that your child’s tendons have become tight. Your child may also walk with a limp or experience greater pain when on their tip toes. This pain may be present in one or both heels.
In an effort to prevent this, be sure that your child wears well-fitting, firm and supportive shoes to help maintain flexibility while your child is growing. A shock absorbent sole may also be helpful. Proper diet control may be necessary in the overweight child.
-Well fitting, supportive shoes
-A soft cushioning heel raise to reduce the pull from the calf muscles on the growth plate
-Stretching before activity and Icing 20 mins after activity
If condition is more severe:
Be sure to consult your podiatrist
Custom orthotics may be recommended
Strapping/taping during activity to limit ankle joint range of motion
Medication to reduce inflammation may be prescribed
A cast may also be given for 2-6 weeks to give the calcaneal apophysis a good chance to heal.
This condition is self limiting and will go away once the bone has fully fused at about 16 years. However it can be really painful so treatment is necessary to relieve symptoms of it during the time of growth.
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