Has your child ever complained of sore heels from footy or netball?
Have you noticed them begin to run differently towards the end of a game, and walk with a limp afterwards?
What causes heel pain in kids?
The most likely cause of this is calcaneal apophysitis, which you might have heard referred to before as “Sever’s Disease”. Don’t worry, it most certainly is NOT a “disease”, but rather an overuse injury, and is really common.
The reason this injury occurs is because the heel bone in kids is still developing. There is a growth plate that separates two separate sections of the bone, which fuses together around 14 years of age.
Before then, the growth plate remains open, and the bone cells are relatively immature. This means that their capacity to cope with repetitive stress from running and jumping activities isn’t as strong as in adults, and inflammation occurs.
Just how much running and jumping each individual child can cope with before they get heel pain varies based on a number of factors, so it is important that you seek individualised care!
How does heel pain in kids get better?
Fortunately, the condition does resolve with rest, although this isn’t always a viable option- particularly for the more determined young athletes.
Not participating in the sport they love is detrimental to their physical and social health, so we love to provide solutions to keep them active!
This might include suggestions of types of footwear, biomechanical therapies such as custom orthoses, training load management plans, and strength and mobility exercises.
It is important to be mindful of heel pain in children when local sport returns, if they have been less active than normal in recent times. Should you have any concerns, we’re here to help you and your active young get back to performing get the most out of their physical activity!
Podiatrist, Strength and Conditioning Coach