Is your child complaining that his or her heel hurts? As an adult, you may be tempted to tell them to “walk it off,” but in children, exactly opposite of adult heel pain, walking typically makes the pain worse. The most common cause of heel pain in children ages 8 to 14 is Calcaneal apophysitis, also known as Sever’s Disease (although it’s not actually a disease). This condition can affect one or both heels and is a result of too much repetitive stress on the growth plate, which is a weak area located at the back of the heel. The bone in that spot is not fully formed until at least the age of 14, and is vulnerable to too much stress.
Common causes of Sever’s Disease include:
- Overuse of the heel bone due to participation in sports that require repeated running and pounding on hard surfaces, such as track, soccer, and basketball
- Tight Achilles tendon
- Biomechanical problems, such as flatfoot or high-arched foot
If your child is experiencing pain at the back or bottom of their heel, is limping, walking on his or her toes, and appears to have difficulty running, jumping, or participating in usual sports and activities, make an appointment with Dr. Alec Hochstein or Dr. Diana Gagliano. Our board certified podiatrists are among the most experienced in Nassau County in treating pediatric foot conditions.
Diagnosis and Treatment
After taking a thorough medical history and completing a comprehensive exam of your child’s foot, one of our foot doctors will often take digital x-rays in our office to further evaluate the state of your child’s heel. Depending on the severity of the Sever’s Disease, the podiatrist may prescribe a period of restriction on physical activities that aggravate heel pain, while prescribing NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen to reduce inflammation and discomfort. Temporary shoe inserts or other orthotic devices may also be used along with physical therapy to promote healing. In extreme cases, immobilization may be necessary.
If your child is experiencing heel pain, call our office today at (516) 482-5999 to set up an appointment. We offer Saturday hours to help accommodate busy family schedules. For more information about our practice, visit our website.