Athletic programs in our Richardson community schools offer a great opportunity for adolescents to learn the values of hard work, setting goals, and working as a team. As with any form of physical activity, sports are also an opportunity for injury. Even a common cause of child heel pain—Sever's disease—that is not actually a sports injury can be exacerbated by running and jumping.
If you are wondering why your child’s heel hurts, the most likely cause is Sever’s disease (calcaneal apophysis). Contrary to the name, this is not actually a disease, nor is it an injury. Instead, this is a medical condition that develops due to the differences in physical maturation processes between the heel bone (calcaneus) and Achilles tendon. The problem arises when the physis (growth plate) in the back of the heel bone goes through a growth spurt before the tendons and muscles in the legs.
When adolescent children—boys between the ages of 10-15 and girls between the ages of 8-13—are physically active or play sports like basketball or tennis, it can lead to excessive strain on tendons that are already overstretched. This results in symptoms like:
- Heel pain following physical activity and particularly if it goes away with rest.
- Limping or trouble while walking.
- Swelling, redness, and pain in the affected heel(s).
- Tightness and tenderness, which is especially noticeable when the area is gently squeezed.
Childhood heel pain caused by calcaneal apophysis will go away in time. Until it does, however, your child can benefit from treatment that is centered on alleviating the often painful symptoms that accompany this common condition.
There are other sources of heel pain for children. These can include plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, and heel bone fractures.
When your son or daughter experiences pain in the heel, or anywhere in the foot or ankle, bring him or her in to see us here at Richardson Podiatry Center. We will assess the situation, provide a diagnosis, and then create a treatment plan specifically for your child. Contact us by calling (972) 690-5374, or use our online form to request your appointment today with our Richardson, TX foot doctor office.