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Heel Pain in Kids

Chris Purcell
February 14, 2023

Understanding and Managing heel pain in kids: Sever’s Disease 

Sever's disease, also known as calcaneal apophysitis, is a common cause of heel pain in children and adolescents, especially those who are physically active. It is a temporary condition that typically occurs during growth spurts, when the bones grow faster than the muscles and tendons, causing stress and strain on the heel.

Who gets Sever's disease?

Sever's disease is most common in children between the ages of 8 and 15, who are undergoing rapid growth and development. It is also more common in children who participate in sports that involve running, jumping, and excessive heel impact, such as soccer, basketball, gymnastics, and dance. Children with flat feet or high arches are also more prone to developing Sever's disease.  

What causes Sever's disease?

Sever's disease is caused by repetitive stress on the heel's growth plate, which is a layer of hyaline cartilage that connects the heel bone (calcaneus) to the calf bone (tibia). The stress on the growth plate can cause small micro-tears in the cartilage, leading to pain and swelling in the heel. The heel's growth plate is particularly vulnerable because it is not as strong or flexible as the surrounding tissue.

How Physiotherapy can help?

Physiotherapy can play an important role in the management of Sever's disease. A physiotherapist can help to reduce pain and improve function in the affected heel in the following ways: 

1. Stretching and Strengthening Exercises: Stretching the calf muscles and hamstrings, as well as strengthening the muscles in the feet and legs, can help to relieve stress on the heel and reduce pain.

2. Modification of Physical Activity: A physiotherapist can recommend modifications to physical activity, such as avoiding high-impact sports or using orthotics, to reduce stress on the heel.

3. Ice Therapy: Applying ice to the affected area can help to reduce pain and swelling.

4. Massage Therapy: Massaging the calf and foot muscles can help to improve circulation and reduce muscle tightness.

5. Taping and Bracing: A physiotherapist may recommend taping or bracing to provide support to the affected heel and reduce stress on the growth plate.

If your child is experiencing heel pain it is important to seek advice.  We will help you to develop a treatment plan that is appropriate for your child's individual needs.

You can book your consultation by clicking HERE

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