Is Your Child Complaining of Heel Pain?

Sever’s Disease Could be the Cause

By Loren Colon DPM FACFAS

Do you have a child who is active in sports and complains of pain in his or her heel after physical activity but is relieved with rest? Is your son or daughter involved in a sport that involve running and jumping, especially those that take place on hard surfaces, such as track, basketball, soccer, and gymnastics. If this is the case, your son or daughter is most likely suffering from a condition known as Sever’s Disease.

Sever’s disease is a common cause of heel pain in growing kids, especially those who are physically active. It usually occurs during the growth spurt of adolescence, the approximately two year period in early puberty when kids grow most rapidly. This growth spurt can begin any time between the ages of 8 and 13 for girls and 10 and 15 for boys. During the growth spurt of early puberty, the heel bone sometimes grows faster than the leg muscles and tendons. This can cause the muscles and tendons to become very tight and overstretched, making the heel less flexible and putting pressure on the growth plate. The Achilles tendon is the strongest tendon that attaches to the growth plate in the heel. Over time, repeated stress on the tight Achilles tendon damages the growth plate, causing the swelling, tenderness, and pain that is consistent with Sever’s disease. This condition rarely occurs in older teens because the back of the heel usually finishes growing by the age of 15, when the growth plate hardens and the growing bones fuse together into mature bone.

Treatment modalities for Sever’s Disease usually includes heel lifts, refraining from physical activity, rest and an orthotic once symptoms resolve to act as a shock absorber.

If your child has these symptoms, contact your Atlanta podiatrist at American Foot and Leg Specialists. We will get them back on the court or playing field in no time.