Kids heel pain & sports-what they have in common!

Does it feel like your child is complaining more and more about heel pain after soccer practice?

 If your gut tells you that this is more than the normal moans and groans, chances are you’re probably right!

 It’s possible her symptoms are caused from the number one reason for pediatric heel pain – a condition known as calcaneal apophysitissoccer or Sever’s Disease. 

Sever’s disease is inflammation of the growth center of the heel bone, and thousands of children are diagnosed with it every year.  This condition is VERY common in physically active kids – occurring more often in boys than girls.  It often occurs during growth spurts.  It isn’t a result of a sudden injury.  As a parent, you will often notice your child limping more and more over time.  It can affect one or both heels at the same time.

Common kid’s sports where Sever’s Disease can most likely occur are:

  • soccer
  • gynmastics
  • footall
  • baseball
  • ice hockey/ice skating
  • tennis
  • ballet
  • tae kwon do
  • running

Factors that can play a part in whether or not your child experiences Sever’s Disease are:

-Tight heel cords (limitation in motion when one pulls the foot and toes toward their body)

-Excessive weight bearing activities

-Over-pronation and/or high arches

-Obesity

Wearing non-supportive shoes

The diagnosis can usually be made with a thorough examination by a podiatrist who specializes in children’s feet.  Often, your child will have pain when the sides of her heel are squeezed, in addition to pain on the back of the heel and sometimes on the bottom.  X-rays are often used to thoroughly evaluate the condition and to rule out other more serious problems, like stress fractures.

Treatment often consists of reducing activity, supporting the heel with cushioning and lifts, custom orthotics made specific for your child’s foot, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy, and sometimes even immobilization.  The good news is, if you follow these treatments, your child will likely have a full recovery and be able to resume all of her favorite sports in no time with no long-term consequences.

“No pain – No gain” does not apply to this condition!

Pushing them through the pain doesn’t “toughen them up.”  There is a good reason they are limping!  Don’t let your child needlessly suffer through the heel pain!  Come see Dr. Green and Dr. Jameson, experts in pediatric foot care, at Kansas City Foot & Ankle.  We will have them back out on the field in no time!

Written by Dr. Stephanie Jameson