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Podiatrist - Washington
853 Jefferson Ave
Washington, PA 15301
(724) 225-7410
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By contactus
August 18, 2011
Category: Uncategorized
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Children commonly complain of aching or pain in the extremities, which quite frequently is dismissed as growing pains, but can heel pain also be caused by growing?

The answer is yes, but it can be a bit more complicated than simple growing pains.  A common cause for heel pain in children 8-14 years old is Calcaneal Apophysitis--inflammation of the growth plate in the calcaneal (heel) bone where the Achilles Tendon inserts to the calcaneus.   Because this disorder includes inflammation and may not simply go away, it is not something to be ignored as is typically done with growing pains.

Symptoms of Calcaneal Apophysitis (also called Sever’s Disease) include pain in the heel when walking or jumping, and are commonly accompanied by limping or walking on the toes to avoid applying pressure to the heel.  The overuse and strain of the muscles surrounding the heel’s growth plate, typically seen while playing high impact sports such as basketball and soccer, contribute to the causes of this disorder.  Tight calf muscles can also increase the chances of inflammation to the calcaneus because it increases tension the Achilles Tendon puts on the calcaneal growth plate.

Treatment options vary depending on the severity of the inflammation.  Important first steps include RICE therapy, stretching the calf muscles to relieve tension to the growth plate, and wearing comfortable shoes with enough support and cushion.  In some cases anti-inflammatory medications help to reduce swelling, and custom orthotic insoles can help distribute pressure on the bottom of the foot.  In some severe cases it may be necessary to remove pressure to the heel completely by using a special boot or crutches. 

Returning to sports or other activities depends on the child’s ability to perform those activities without pain.  It is important that if there is still pain with rest or walking, that the child does not try to perform more intensive activities such as jumping or running.   Give our office a call and we will be able to assess your child’s symptoms and assist in healing your child while determining what level of activity your child is ready for.

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