Guest blogger Dr. Paul Langer of Twin Cities Orthopedics
discusses heel pain in kids and teenagers.
One of the more common sources of foot pain in kids, especially athletic kids, is an inflammation of the growth plate in the heel bone. This condition is known as calcaneal apophysitis. It has also been called Sever’s disease, but I rarely use that term when talking to parents because it often is scary to hear the word “disease” and makes it sound like a permanent condition. It is not a permanent condition or disease- it is an inflammation of the growth plate in the heel bone and is self-limiting. Which means it will heal eventually.
The inflammation may be set off by activity, especially sports. It is most common in children between the ages of 10 and 14. It is suspected that the rapid growth that takes place during this stage of development is a contributing factor in calcaneal apophysitis. Because bone and soft tissue do not grow at the same rate, the stress to the growth plate can cause inflammation of the growth plate and heel bone.
This condition is easily treated with symptomatic management like icing and children’s anti-inflammatory medications. Heel cushions or heel cups can be helpful for some to provide cushioning from impact forces of walking and running. For more persistent symptoms, insoles that support the arches well may work better than heel cushions. If the above treatments fail to provide adequate pain relief then time off of sports for 2-4 weeks may be warranted.
About Dr. Langer…
Paul R. Langer, DPM of Twin Cities Orthopedics is a board certified podiatrist, who specializes in sports medicine, foot disorders, biomechanics, surgery and diabetic foot care. He has lectured at and served on the medical staff of international athletic events including the Boston Marathon and China’s Gobi March. He is a clinical advisor for the American Running Association, and an associate of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. He is the author of Great Feet for Life: Footcare and Footwear for Healthy Aging and has contributed to three other medical texts.
Dr. Langer is an avid runner and triathlete and has completed more than 25 marathons and an Ironman triathlon.