Don’t Ignore Your Child’s Heel Pain

Address Pain Early

If your child complains of heel pain after activity or sports, he may be suffering from Sever’s disease.

Sever’s disease is a very common heel injury that occurs in kids. Is a painful bone disorder that results from inflammation (swelling) of the growth plate in the heel. It’s not actually a disease but a heel injury. It usually occurs during the growth spurt of adolescence, the approximately 2-year period in early puberty when kids grow most rapidly.

What causes it:

During a growth spurt, your child’s heel bone grows faster than the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in their leg. The heel is one of your child’s first body parts to reach full adult size. Sometimes, the muscles and tendons can’t grow fast enough to keep up, and they are stretched too tight.

If your child plays a sport that involves a lot of running and jumping on hard surfaces (soccer, basketball, or gymnastics), it can put extra strain on the already overstretched tendons. This leads to swelling and pain at the point where the tendons attach to the growing part of her heel.

Peak incidences are:

  • Girls: 8 to 10 years old.
  • Boys: 10 to 12 years old.

Symptoms:

As a parent, you may notice your child limping while walking or running awkwardly. If you ask them to rise onto their tip toes, their heel pain usually increases. Heel pain can be felt in one or both heels in Sever’s disease.

Risk factors:

  • Excessive running and jumping
  • Sports that involve wearing cleats
  • Barefoot sports like gymnastics
  • Year-around sport participation
  • Intense training
  • Rapid growing

Management & Treatment:

The good news is that the condition doesn’t cause any long-term foot problems, with early treatment (which may involve physiotherapy, rest, strapping, medical orthotics and shoes).

Our foot and ankle specialists, at Zia Medical Center, stresses that young athletes should never “play through the pain” in their feet. Left untreated, heel pain can lead to difficulty in walking that will require complicated therapy.

Dr. Salman Hameed

  • Specialist Orthopedic Surgeon
  • MBBS, FRCS (Ire), FRCS (Tr. & Orth) UK
  • Dr. Pierdanilo Sanna

  • Specialist Orthopedic Surgeon
  • MBBS, MD in Orthopedics & Trauma Surgery (Italy)
  • Dr. Maria Mangaki

  • Podiatrist
  • Bsc (Hons) Podiatry, Msc Surgical Podiatrist (UK)
  • Dr. H A Mann

  • Consultant Trauma & Orthopedic Surgeon
  • MBBS, MD, MRCS, AFRCS, FRCS (Trauma & Ortho) (UK)