You don’t want to see your child suffer, but sometimes you don’t know what’s causing their pain or what to do about it. If you have an active older child who complains of heel pain, Sever’s disease could be the reason. Fortunately, the symptoms can be treated and there is seldom any lasting damage. Let us help you understand this condition so you can care for your children’s feet and worry less.
A Common Cause of Children’s Heel Pain
Children can suffer from all sorts of foot conditions as adults can, but there are a few that are specific to young people. Sever’s disease is one of these issues. This foot condition occurs in children who are going through a growth spurt. The epiphyseal (growth) plate in the heel area becomes inflamed and this creates pain in the heel.
This is a result of the heel bone growing at a more rapid pace than the surrounding muscles and tendons. The muscles can become tight and even overstretched, which puts excessive pressure on the growth plate. This issue is exacerbated in children who are active, overweight, have flatfeet, or overpronate because of increased pressure on their heels. The result of all of this is inflammation, redness, stiffness in the foot, an abnormal gait, and pain when the heel is cupped from both sides.
Treating Sever’s Disease
The goal of treatment is pain relief, and fortunately, this can usually be achieved. It will, however, mean resting the foot, so if your child is active in sports they will need to take a break from this activity until they are completely healed. There are certain activities they can participate in, such as swimming and cycling, that are low-impact and are less likely to make the condition worse.
We also recommend that your child wears good, supportive shoes and refrains from going barefoot during this process. Other things that can help with relieving pain and inflammation include elevating the foot, applying ice, using a compression stocking, taking any pain medications we prescribe if needed, and doing certain stretches. Taking good care of your child’s feet means he or she will likely recover from this condition in 2 weeks to 2 months with no long-term damage. It’s really important to catch it early and be diligent about sticking to a treatment plan to achieve this.
Preventing Heel Pain in Children
It’s not always possible to prevent Sever’s disease, but there are things you can do to make it less likely. Helping your child maintain flexibility while he or she is growing is one way to avoid the pain of this condition. You can do this through the use of foot and leg stretches. Buying quality footwear that offers good support and shock-absorbent soles can usually help lot, too. If the cause of heel pain is due to overpronation or an arch problem, it can be beneficial to use a custom orthotic to balance out pressure on the feet. Even after recovering, it’s important to continue to do their stretches so the problem does not reoccur.
Podiatric Care in the Northwest Phoenix Area
At Fixing Feet Institute in Surprise, AZ we know how important your family is to you. That’s why we proudly offer foot health care to people of all ages. If your child has heel or foot pain, don’t hesitate to call Dr. Peyman Elison and Dr. Viedra Elison at (623) 584-5556 to schedule an appointment with us today!