As a Pedorthist with over 16 years of experience, I often assess children who have been complaining of heel pain when they are active such as when playing soccer, running, playing basketball, or tennis. Children shouldn’t have pain from normal activities and fun kid stuff! If these complaints don’t go away, see the family or sports doctor who may refer your child to a Pedorthist.
If you and your child visit my Pedorthic Clinic, following a thorough history and biomechanical gait analysis I can make recommendations about treatment such as over-the-counter (OTC) arch supports, custom foot orthotics, footwear fit and features. I can also recommend devices for hockey skates, soccer and ball cleats, basketball and court shoes, and split sole dance shoes.
Sever's Syndrome, or calcaneal apophysitis, is the most common cause of heel pain in the growing child and is due to overuse and repetitive microtrauma of the growth plate at the back of the heel where the Achilles tendon attaches. During a growth spurt, the heel bone sometimes grows more quickly than the Achilles tendon, which causes the tendon to overstretch. Stress does not negatively affect the growth of the bone. It can occur in children ages 7 to 15, with the majority of patients presenting between 10 and 12 years of age. Sever’s Syndrome is most often seen in children who play sports which involve running, jumping, and/or cutting movements. Poor biomechanics can be a contributing factor; when the heel bone leans inwards or outwards too much it places additional strain on the Achilles tendon.
- Discomfort upon waking
- Limping, prefers to walk on the toes or avoids flexing the ankles, knees
- Heel pain during running or playing sports
- More severe pain after walking or exercise
- Increased difficulty walking as injury progresses
- Pain or tenderness in the heel (or heels)
- Pain at the apex of the calcaneus or heel bone
- Pain when the heel is squeezed
- Reduction of activities and sports which aggravate the symptoms
- Wearing a proper fitting and supportive athletic shoe
- Bilateral heel lifts
- OTC arch supports
- Custom foot orthotics to control poor biomechanics
- Physiotherapy to address any muscle imbalances, reduce symptoms, and get the child back to their activities quickly