In children and adolescents ages 8 to 14, particularly those who are very active in sports, Sever’s Disease (or calcaneal apophysitis) is the number one cause of heel pain. This condition is an inflammation of the growth plate at the back of the heel, which is a sensitive area because that’s where new bone growth is occurring. At Gentle Professional Foot Care we see Sever’s Disease often in kids who play basketball, soccer or run track because of the constant pounding of the heel on a hard surface. Other factors that may make a child more prone to Sever’s Disease include:
· A tight Achilles tendon
· Flat feet
· Overly high arches
Our foot and ankle surgeon, Charles A. Suleskey, DPM, after examining your child’s foot and completing the necessary tests (x-rays, lab work, etc.) can rule out other more serious ailments and diagnose Sever’s Disease. There are a number of non-invasive treatments available, such as:
· An orthotic device to be worn in the shoe to help support the heel
· Anti-inflammatory medication to reduce pain and inflammation
· Physical therapy
The foot doctor will definitely want your child to rest from any activities that puts pressure on the heel and may even prescribe a cast to completely immobilize the heel and foot to give it a chance to heal.
You can help make your child less vulnerable to Sever’s Disease by maintaining a reasonable sports schedule with plenty of rest between games and practices. Choose well-constructed and supportive sports shoes for your child’s activities and limit the time spent in athletic shoes with cleats as these are thought to increase the risk of Sever’s Disease. Also, help your child to maintain a healthy weight and encourage good eating habit to avoid undue strain on the heels and the rest of the foot.
Remember, never tell your child to “play through the pain.” This can lead to damage to the foot and potentially chronic foot problems. If your child is complaining of heel pain or any foot discomfort, contact our Venice office for an appointment by calling: 941-493-7999.