Heel Pain in Children
Children between the age of 8 and 12 years old years old are vulnerable to heel pain. The pain is located at the back of the heel bone and is called Severs disease. This is by and large a self-limiting swelling of the growth plate of the heel bone. The injury should improve within six weeks if the right treatment is given.
Pain usually comes on during or after activity. It may stop the child doing sports activities and can cause a limp when progressing to become more painful. There can be a palpable lump at the back of the heel and usually there is no visible inflammation. Certain shoes can make the condition worse.
Boys are more affected than girls and usually have the condition between the age of 8 and 12 years of age, whilst girls are more affected between the age of 10 and 12 years of age.
The Cause of the Problem
In children the heel bone is composed of two parts. These two parts are separated by cartilage. As the cartilage grows the edges of each side ‘ossifies’ and becomes bone thereby allowing the bone to grow over time.
When your child is very active and has a growth spurt, the soft tissue grows quicker than bone and extra force is put on the heel bone. This can result in an overuse injury where the achilles tendon attaches to the back of the heel. The heel growth plate swells and is painful. The swelling is sometimes seen seen at the back of the heel.
You may find that your child stops enjoying running or jumping sports and doesn’t enjoy being active.
The area marked in red is where the pain most often is located
Treatment is aimed at reducing and modifying activity levels, stretching and strengthening exercises, heel lifts and orthotics.