Is your child experiencing heel pain? This past basketball season, my 10 year old son complained of heel pain. We had assumed that he had just outgrown his shoes, so we bought new shoes and the problem went away. But, not for long, as it came back later in the season.
Recently, one of our Board Certified Pedorthists, Steve LaFond emailed me an article that he wrote based on the number of parents bringing their kids into the store with heel pain. Apparently, there is a name for this condition called Sever’s Disease. Read on as Steve explains the condition in detail and offers advice on helping your son or daughter to better deal with the pain.
CHILDREN AND COMMON FOOT/HEEL PAIN
(always consult with your doctor before any treatment)
Many times children will complain about heel pain. This is especially true during the early puberty years as the bones in the body are often growing faster than the muscles and tendons attached to them. This results in a tightening of the muscles and tendons, which in turn increase strain on the bones, especially the heel bone. If the growth plate of the heel bone has not closed, this excess strain can cause a condition known as Sever’s Disease.
The pain can be in one or both heels. Your child may limp or walk on tiptoes. The pain becomes more severe with increased activity. Sever’s Disease most commonly occurs from age 8-13 in physically active boys and girls. The growth plate will normally close by the age of 15 and it is rare to have Sever’s Disease beyond this age.
The child should cut down or stop any activity that causes the pain for 2 weeks to 2 months. Apply ice to injured area for 20 minutes 3 times a day. Avoid going barefoot and for severe pain acetaminophen or ibuprofen may help. Often times an over the counter arch support or heel cup may be helpful.
Stretching can help alleviate and even prevent this condition.
Foot curls: loop heavy elastic or rubber band around table leg. Sit on floor and scoot back until you can just hook toes in band, bend the foot toward body until you cannot move closer then extend the foot toward table and repeat 3 times a few times a day. This is a good strengthening exercise.
Hamstring stretch: sit on floor with one leg extended. Bend and grab toes. Pull back on toes until you feel the muscles and tendons stretch up the back of the leg. Hold pressure for a slow count to ten and repeat 3 times a few times a day.
Achilles tendon stretch: stand up to a wall and place one foot at an angle to wall, press knee slowly toward the wall. If you can touch the wall with the knee, increase the angle at the ankle. 3 reps, 3 times daily.
Runner’s stretch: with arms straight lean against wall and extend one leg back behind you. Keep both feet flat on floor and lean into wall by bending arms. 3 reps, 3 times daily.
For severe pain, please consult a medical professional. If you have seen a medical professional or have questions on a diagnosed condition and the proper footwear for certain conditions, please stop by one of our neighborhood locations to speak with a Board Certified Pedorthists.