Heel Pain in Children
What is Sever’s Disease?
Sever’s Disease is a common diagnosis of heel pain in children. It is not a disease that can harm your child or that is life threatening, although it can cause debilitating foot and heel pain in your child. This is because Sever’s disease, (also known as calcaneal apophysitis), is inflammation of the growth plate at the heel bone. It is caused by repetitive stress to the heel bone in children or adolescences usually through the stages of growth spurts. It typically occurs between the ages of 8-13 years for girls and 10-15 years for boys.
What are Sever’s Disease Symptoms?
Children usually complain of heel pain during and after activity especially where a lot of running and jumping is involved. They will often limp and the pain gets worse the longer if a health professional does not treat it.
How is Sever’s Disease Diagnosed?
Sever’s disease can be diagnosed based on your history and symptoms and your podiatrist performing a Biomechanical Assessment. Clinically, the podiatrist will perform a “squeeze test” as well as checking other joints and muscles to rule out any other possible diagnosis.
Some children suffer Sever’s disease even though they do less exercise than others. This indicates that it may be due to poor foot and leg mechanics, such as tight calf muscles (often from recent or current growth spurt), over-pronation (feet rolling inward) or supination (feet rolling outward), are the predisposing factor.
What is the treatment for Sever’s Disease?
Treatment for Sever’s Disease in children is based on eliminating pain and restoring normal foot and leg biomechanics.
Initially, your child needs to rest, ice and off-load the heels. This means they need to stop activity and actively rest the feet. Ice helps reduce the inflammation and can also reduce the pain.
There are many ways to off-load (reduce weight-bearing and therefore pain) the heels. Change of footwear, gel heel cups/lifts, strapping, kinesiology taping and orthotic therapy are several ways this can be done.
Your specialist children’s podiatrist, will tailor an individual treatment plan which will best suit your child, their needs, their foot and leg mechanics. Your podiatrist is an expert in the assessment and correction of your dynamic foot control, so they will also look at preventing any other injuries in the future that may come from your child’s foot and leg mechanics.
To make an appointment to have your child assessed, please phone us on (03) 9372-7452 or use our online booking form today.
Article by: Kim Thompson BHSc Pod NZ MAPodA AAPSM