As the sun is shining and kids are finishing with school, children will begin their summer activities which will see kids out on the fields running and exercising. This provides great exercise and enhanced fitness, but unfortunately can lead to injury and some discomfort. One of the most common ailments is a condition known as Sever’s disease or Calcaneal Apophysitis.
Sever’s disease causes heel pain and is a common problem with children between the ages of 8 to 13 years. It is related to physical activity and affects both boys and girls. Pain is felt in the back of the heel. Some shoes may make the pain worse due to pressure on the sore heel. In some cases, there may be pain that wraps around the heel and extends into the arch of the foot. This is due to the anatomy of the area as the Achilles tendon has fibers that extend from the back of the heel to the bottom of the heel where it joins the Plantar fascia that extends along the bottom of the foot.
Sever’s disease is caused by increased shearing forces on the growth plate. This causes mild swelling in the area and pain. Unfortunately, sports activities can worsen the condition. Due to the rapid growth of kids between 8 and 13, muscle flexibility needs to be evaluated. Tight calf muscles can exacerbate symptoms, by adding to the shearing forces on the calcaneal epiphysis.
Also, children who experience this problem seem to be prone to a pronated foot. Walking on the inside of the foot can increase the shearing forces on the physeal plate, increasing pain. Due to this orthotics should be used to correct this problem. Orthotics will limit the amount of pronation and decrease the shear forces on the physeal plate. In addition, stretching exercises are necessary to increase flexibility. Ice also should be used to allay the inflammation.
The doctors at Podiatry Associates are well versed in diagnosing, evaluating, and treating this condition. This condition can be quite debilitating and limit the activity of children which can be quite disheartening especially during the summer time. In addition, physical activity is the cornerstone for good health so let’s keep our kids active and if foot pain limits them. Then I would encourage you to have it evaluated immediately as foot pain can be quite debilitating and typically kids do not grow out of this as some people may tell you. Have a great summer!