What is causing my child’s heel pain? Our Colac Podiatrist explains

Danny, our Colac children’s podiatrist, often sees children present with heel pain. This can be a frustrating thing for children to deal with as it can limit their ability to remain active and enjoying their sport.

The main cause of heel pain in children is something called Calcaneal Apophysitis (Bit of a mouthful!) or more commonly known as Sever’s Disease. There’s a push amongst the profession to steer away from using ‘Sever’s Disease’ due to its inaccurate use of ‘disease’.

This is a common cause of foot pain in young, active children. It most commonly affects boys and girls between the ages of 7-12 but can present up to 14 years of age depending on when your child’s growth spurts are. 

The injury itself can best be described as an inflammation from excessive rubbing of the achilles tendon over the growth plate in the heel bone (calcaneus).

It is common for symptoms to begin with an increase in exercise on hard surfaces, such as court based sports like basketball or netball. We also see a big increase in Sever’s at the beginning of AFL and soccer seasons when grounds are still firm from the summer. 

Symptoms usually start as a ‘bruised’ feeling during sport and will generally initially calm down post completion of exercise. As the condition worsens symptoms will persist for longer and can present as ‘throbbing’ at bedtime and during the night. 

How is it treated? 

Like most injuries, early intervention is critical to a positive outcome in the short term. At your Podiatry assessment we will look at;

  • Footwear; Is it appropriate for the chosen sport or activity? 
  • Muscle flexibility; Are certain areas tight and restricted? 
  • Muscle strength; Are there any weaknesses or imbalances? 
  • Foot biomechanics; Is there an underlying concern that needs addressing? 
  • Activity profile; Do we need to manage this by reducing high impact activities and supplementing them with low impact? 

By understanding the factors that have created the problem in the first place we can be systematic in ticking each one off the list. In our experience symptom relief takes days once factors have been addressed. In most cases complete symptom resolution takes around 1 month. 

If you think your child would benefit from an assessment then we would love to help out! You can book online or contact us to make an appointment.