Heel Pain in Children

Heel pain is a very common complaint seen by Podiatrists. There are many different causes of heel pain which differ between adults and children. Heel pain in children can be caused by stress fractures, bursitis, tendinopathy or severs disease. Severs disease is the most common reason for heel pain in children.

Severs disease or also known as calcaneal apophysitis is inflammation to the growth plate by irritation or disturbance on the heel bone (Calcaneus). Children between the ages of 10-14 years of age are more likely to be affected and it is more commonly seen in boys.

It usually occurs during a growth spurt and is exacerbated by activity and generally settles with rest. Sports that involve a lot of running, jumping and sprinting tend to make the pain worse. Pain can be experienced during and/or after periods of activity and can last for some days after. Common sites of pain include the back and sides of the heel

Once diagnosed, treatment is varied depending on the severity and activity levels of the child.  Treatment can include:

  • Rest
  • Icing of the area after activity or when painful.
  • Footwear assessment
  • Alterations to footwear
  • Decrease in activity if necessary
  • Orthotic therapy

It is important to have your child assessed by a health professional to eliminate factors that are causing the pain and discomfort, this will likely include, a gait analysis, a muscle, ligament and joint assessment and a footwear assessment to ensure your child is wearing appropriate footwear for their activity requirements. Overall, severs can cause issues whilst your child is growing however through proper treatment the pain can settle.

By Alicia Hart

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