Pain In Heel Of Foot? – Could It Be Sever’s Disease
Don’t be scared by its name. This condition is not really a true disease but rather a disorder of the heel; the growth plate to be exact. Sever’s Disease is the most common cause of pain in heel of foot. Another name for it, medically speaking, is Calcaneal Apophysitis or basically, inflammation of the heel bone.
Sever’s Disease is most likely to affect kids around a period of an adolescent growth spurt between the ages of 8 to 14, the time when the heel bone is fully formed. The growth plate in the back of the heel is a weak area. It is one of the parts of the foot that is affected by the repetitive stresses put on it. Unlike pain in heel in adults pain in adults, this pain doesn’t often subside over time but rather can linger or worsen even just by walking.
Tendons and ligaments in the feet and legs can become tight and overstretched during puberty since the heel bone is not flexible and grows faster than they do. The repetitive stresses and impacts on the heel bone leave it susceptible to inflammation and injury. Children who participate in high impact sports, long periods of standing on hard surfaces, improper footwear, obesity, overuse, and flat or high arches can all cause the onset of Sever’s Disease.
The repetitive stresses and impacts on the heel bone leave it susceptible to inflammation and injury.
The most common symptom is pain in heal or tenderness in one or both heels, likely at the back. The pain may also extend on to the sides or bottom of the heels. The child may begin limping or having difficulty walking or running. There may be redness in the area or visible inflammation. The child may experience discomfort in the morning when they wake or stiffness. They may start to walk on their tip toes as simply walking can cause pain to occur. There will likely be pain if the heel is squeezed on the sides.
In order to diagnose Sever’s disease, the foot specialist will take a thorough medical history and history of the symptoms. This will also include frequency of sports and activities. Normally, talking to the child about the symptoms they are experiencing is typically enough to confirm the diagnosis. A biomechanical examination and physical exam should also be performed. On some occasions x-rays can be taken but usually is not necessary.
It is important that the child reduces or stops activity levels until the symptoms have improved.
Treatment of Sever’s Disease will begin with managing the pain. Rest and ice are very important when dealing with inflammatory conditions. It is important that the child reduces or stops activity levels until the symptoms have improved. Placing ice on the heel at regular intervals throughout the day will also help to reduce the inflammation. Anti-inflammatory medication may be recommended in order to help the process of healing. If obesity is a cause, weigh loss is highly recommended.
It is imperative to have proper fitting shoes for all activities.
Due to the fact that children are still growing, Sever’s Disease can reoccur. It is for this reason that a more long term treatment plan should be considered. Gel heel cups will help soften the impact on the heels with each step as well as slightly help to control motion. Footwear is always necessary to investigate and address. It is imperative to have proper fitting shoes for all activities. Custom orthotics may be necessary as well in order to address the long term functioning of the foot and needs to be replaced as children grow.
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