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By Philip S. Pinsker, DPM PC
October 27, 2015
Tags: Heel pain   Sever's Disease  

Heel pain in children ages 8 to 14 is most often the result of Sever’s Disease. Also known as Calcaneal apophysitis, this condition is an inflammation of the growth plate in the heel. The heel does not finish developing until a child is about 14. A weak spot at the back of the heel can become irritated by excessive repetitive activities that pound the heel such as soccer, basketball, and football. Although overuse is the biggest cause of Sever’s Disease, biomechanical issues with the foot such as having high arches or flat feet, obesity, and a tight Achilles tendon can also be aggravating factors. In addition to heel pain, you may notice your child limping, walking on tip toes, and avoiding physical activity.

Diagnosis and Treatment

At Dr. Philip S. Pinsker, our board certified podiatrist will conduct a thorough examination of your child’s heels and feet and will want to know about his or her recent activities. Sever’s Disease can occur in one or both feet. Dr. Pinsker may order x-rays or other imaging tests to confirm the diagnosis. Treatment options include:

  • Activity Modification: Any repetitive activity that puts stress on the heel needs to be stopped or greatly reduced.
  • Immobilization: If the heel pain is severe, a cast may be needed to give the inflammation a chance to go down for healing to occur
  • Physical Therapy: Stretching exercises and other physical therapy activities can help both heal and strengthen
  • Orthotics: Shoe inserts, padding, or other orthotic devices can relieve pressure and give support to the heel

Prevention

You can help prevent Sever’s Disease by making sure your child has well-constructed and supportive shoes for the sports and physical activities that he or she participates in. Also, avoid or limit cleats—these have been shown to be a contributing factor to this condition. Making sure your child maintains a healthy weight will also help in the prevention of Sever’s Disease (and many other medical conditions).

If you suspect that your child may be suffering from Sever’s Disease or if there are other concerns with his or her feet and ankles, make an appointment at our Washington office. Proper care is essential to ensure healthy growth and development of your child’s feet.

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