Heel pain in kids and teens

Heel pain in kids and teens is not uncommon, but it may be caused by something different than what causes heel pain in adults. One common cause of heel pain is Sever's disease or calcaneal apophysitis which typically develops around puberty more often occurring for boys rather than girls.

Teens and kids who love to play sports might become discouraged if they're unable to participate because of heel pain. This type of foot injury is called Sever's disease, and it affects active children between the ages 8-14 when their growth spurts are beginning. It develops as a result from traction on the Achilles tendon acting against their heels' growing plates causing inflammation in those areas.

Symptoms of Sever's
When doing physical activities such as running and jumping, heel pain can be quite excruciating. Pain can often get worse during exercise or after activity.

Severs disease is mostly age and activity related some the other factors can contribute to heel pain in kids involve:

  • Changes in height and weight
  • When a sports season ends and a new one starts
  • When this been a sudden increase in the childs training load. This can include the amount of activity, the intensity and the frequency of sport and physical exercise.

Sever's disease is often diagnosed by a podiatrist. The diagnosis is made through detailed history of the patient, physical examinations and occasionally medical imaging. However in some cases, additional diagnostic tests may be necessary to rule out other conditions that are causing similar symptoms as Sever's disease.

How do we treat the sever's?
Severs disease, which causes heel pain and makes it hard to exercise or do normal activities, is often self-limiting. However treatment should be sought out when the condition interferes with daily life.

Treatment includes:

  • Education on how to manage flareups
  • Modify activity for short periods is often necessary to get things under control.
  • Using an in-shoe heel lift can often reduce stress on the heel bone and improve the symptoms.
  • Ensuring shoes have adequate support and suitable for the type of activity and sport.
  • Icing at the end of the sport
  • Orthotics (specially designed inserts)
  • Medication such as ibuprofen or paracetamol can be helpful during an acute flareup; however, this should always be combined with other treatments and following a consultation with a podiatrist or Doctor.

Contact us to find out more about Sever's

Mr James Ferrie
B. Pod. (La Trobe); Mem. A. Pod. A
Principal Practitioner / Founder of My Sports Podiatrist