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Why is my child getting pain on the outside of their foot (Iselin's Disease)?

Updated: Aug 23, 2019

Iselin's Disease
Photo credit: Academy of Chiropractic Orthopedists

If your child is developing pain on the outside of their foot then this could indicate inflammation of the growth plate of their 5th metatarsal. This is called Iselin’s disease. During development, the bones grow from growth plate, which is made up of cartilage. This cartilage is usually very soft and can be prone to injuries during this phase of growth. Iselin disease is typically more common in the ages of 8 to 13 years. Children who play sports are more prone to having this issue.

What are the causes of Iselin Disease?

Iselin’s disease is caused by repetitive loading, increased muscle tension and overuse of the area, which puts strain on the growth plate on the base of the 5th metatarsal bone. Things that can be risk factor for Iselin’s disease is being involved in activities such as soccer, basketball, dance or gymnastics; having tight calf muscles or doing a lot of running and jumping activities that puts tension on the growth center.

What are the symptoms of Iselin Disease?

  • Pain along the outer edge of the foot

  • Pain is worse with activity and gets better with resting

  • Redness and swelling on the outer edge of the foot.

What is the treatment for Iselin Disease?

After a definite diagnosis of Iselin disease through x-rays, Iselin disease is treated in the following ways:

  • Rest from activities that are aggravating the condition.

  • Application of ice for 10 – 15 minutes on the area after activities (not before) to help with reducing any inflammation present.

  • Using topical anti-inflammatory gels to reduce inflammation.

  • Taping the area to support the muscles on the side of their foot.

  • Stretching tight calf muscles.

  • Wearing supportive shoes.

  • Orthotic therapy to offload the area.

  • Return to sports and activities only when the pain has gone and your child is not limping.

  • Possible immobilization in a walking boot in severe cases.

  • Surgery if all conservative treatment fails.

Iselin disease should resolve when the growth plate has properly fused once your child has stopped growing.

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