Children's heel pain is one of the most common presenting foot complaints managed by our podiatrists at FALL. If your child is between 8-14 years old and is complaining of heel pain, it could be a case of Calcaneal Apophysitis (commonly known as Sever's Disease).
What is Calcaneal Apophysitis?
Calcaneal apophysitis is an inflammation of the heel bone (calcaneus) growth plate. Children aged 8-14 years old describe it as a soreness at the back of the heel that gets worse during or after activity. Regardless of gender or activity levels, all children can be affected. However, children who are taller or heavier are more predisposed.
How is it diagnosed?
The condition is diagnosed through thorough history taking and physical examination by your podiatrist. A common test your clinician may perform is squeezing the inside and outside of your child's heel, which may elicit pain ('squeeze test'). There is no evidence supporting the use of X-rays or Ultrasound imaging to diagnose Calcaneal Apophysitis. Our podiatrists will ensure they do not miss signs of systemic infection or disease.
What is the treatment?
According to the best available evidence, children with heel pain respond well to the heel lifts, orthotics, or a combination of both. These will be prescribed or dispensed by your podiatrists. Sometimes, an analgesic such as Paracetamol may be required. Kids are often good at load management and will ideally ease off activities based on their own pain levels. Ice application after activities can help reduce the pain.
Will my child have this condition forever?
Treatment is often in the form of symptomatic relief of flare-ups until the growth plates naturally fuse, when the child reaches 12-14 years old. Thereafter, the condition should resolve. Ensuring that your child maintains their physical activity levels is crucial!
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