Does your child complain of an aching pain in their heels during or after sport/activity?
Is it stopping them from playing the sports that they love?
If you answered yes to these questions, keep reading!
Calcaneal apophysitis, commonly referred to as Sever's disease, is a condition where there is inflammation of the growth plate on the back of the calcaneus (heel bone). Heel pain is a common complaint in children aged between 8-14 who are active and it can be very painful and debilitating. Children with Sever's disease will often present with a limping gait as they try to avoid putting their heel to the ground and it can happen in one or both heels at once
Sever's disease can occur or be exacerbated by a number of factors including:
- Recent growth spurt
- Poor footwear
- Tight calves
- Poor foot function (high or low arches)
- High impact activity such as football, netball, basketball, dancing, athletics etc
The good news is that Sever's disease is a condition that WILL go away! There are a number of different treatment options available for Sever's disease which include:
- Icing the heels - this helps to reduce inflammation through the heel and provide pain relief. Try filling up a polystyrene cup with water, freezing it and then peeling back the top of the cup. This allows you to massage the ice around the heel.
- Calf stretching - not all children with Sever's disease will have tight calves, but they are associated according to the literature. By stretching tight calves, it reduces the amount of strain on the achilles tendon, which attached onto the heel right near the calcaneal growth plate.
- Heel lifts - the use of these will also help to reduce strain on the achilles tendon and the heel.
- Orthotics - often, children with heel pain will also have sub-optimal function within their feet. Orthotics can help to redistribute pressures within the feet and allow them to function efficiently.
- Laser/ultrasound/interferential therapy - These modalities may provide pain relief and help to heal inflamed structures
- Activity modification - Modifying or reducing activity can help manage pain levels and give the feet a chance to rest and heal. We don't want children to stop playing sport, but to modify their activity to reduce pain. For example, playing half a game of basketball and slowly increasing playing time each week as the pain reduces.
- Footwear assessment - Putting your children in proper footwear is extremely important for a number of reasons. Shoes that are too flexible or stiff, are the wrong fit or are worn for the wrong purpose (for example, wearing casual shoes for netball rather than netball shoes) can exacerbate symptoms.
Here at Foot Body Sole, we will work closely with you and your child to develop a tailored management plan to get your child back to playing the sport that they love as quickly as possible!
If your child is suffering from heel pain, give us a call on 1800 778 316 or book online and any of our podiatrists would love to help!