Heel Pain In Kids And How To Treat It
Heel pain in kids is a painful occurrence that is caused by repetitive stress on the heel plate. It is most commonly found in children aged between 8 – 14 years who play sport or are active. Heel pain, otherwise known as Calcaneal Apophysitis or Sever’s Disease, is treatable and thankfully not a disease in the traditional sense.
Sever’s Disease predominantly affects children under the age of 14 because the foot is not fully developed. As the heel plate is bone that is still forming, the added pressure of running, jumping and general play places undue stress on the heel. This causes inflammation in the plate and surrounding heel area which is the crux of the pain.
Sever’s Disease symptoms.
It can be hard to assess in your child at first, but if you notice the following symptoms, it’s recommended you have them checked by a professional.
- Pain in their heels
- Walking on their toes
- Favouring one foot/leg over the other
- Reluctance to play sports or do physical activities
- Pain in the heel when side of the foot when squeezed.
Sever’s Disease diagnosis.
Is usually diagnosed by a doctor or podiatrist. If your child is complaining of pain in their heels, especially during any physical activity, you need to have their feet checked. We recommend seeing a Podiatrist as they are specifically trained to treat feet. Your specialist may request X-Rays to confirm the diagnosis.
How long does Sever’s disease last?
Sever’s Disease typically lasts 2 – 3 months and can reoccur over a few years, especially during a child’s growth years of 8 – 14 years. It is more common in boys who have big growth spurts during this time.
What is the treatment for Sever’s Disease?
In most cases the treatment involves resting the foot to reduce the stress on the heel. Medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (Ibuprofen) might be prescribed to aid in reducing swelling and pain. Physiotherapy could also be prescribed to work the foot and ankle area. Stretches for Sever’s Disease are also part of the treatment, stretching the ligaments and tendons around the heel and achilles region. Ice can be applied to reduce inflammation in the area also. But in short, the best treatment is rest.
Can Sever’s Disease be prevented?
Whilst it is hard to prevent Sever’s Disease, there are measures you can take that will reduce the chances of your child developing heel pain.
- Avoiding obesity – extra weight can put pressure on the joints
- Choosing the right shoes – supportive and well-constructed shoes designed for children’s feet will help provide the necessary support to reduce foot pain.
- Limit or avoid wearing of cleated athletic shoes – cleated shoes are the studded or spiked shoes worn by soccer and football players.
- Avoid excessive activity – keep your child’s activities in line with their ability.
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