Heel Pain in Children


Heel pain in children and heel spurs experienced by adults are different conditions. In most cases of children affected with heel issues the most common cause diagnosed is hindrance to the development of back region of the heel bone which is known as (calcaneus) wherein it gets adjoined to the Achilles tendon. This condition is also referred to as Sever’s disease and is also scientifically known as calcaneal apophysitis. In the condition inflammation related to the growth plate is experienced. This physical issue is commonly diagnosed in children within the age group of 10 to 14 years. To your information these conditions are amongst the many “osteochondroses” that may also affect other regions of the body. For example, if the condition is experienced at the knee it is known as Osgood- Schlatters Diseases.

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Basic Anatomy of heel pain in children


During the time of birth of an infant, most of its bones are yet in form of cartilage and only few of it may in the developing phase. When the calcaneus begins to develop into bone, there is usually a single large region of development that begins in the middle of the cartilage heel. Gradually this region of bone develops and spreads in order to fill up the heel cartilage. Another process of bone development takes place at the back region of the heel bone. These two region undergoing bone development usually has a portion of cartilage in between them; this is the way in which bone development phenomenon takes place. Around the age of 16 years, the bone development is almost complete and these two bony regions are adjoined together. Heel pain in children due to Sever’s disease is said to take place due to damages or affliction this region of growth.

Hel pain in children- symptoms:

Common symptoms of heel pain in children may primarily include ache experienced usually at the back as well as sides of the heel bone. In some cases the affected child may also experience pain at the bottom of the heel. In case the child is too sporty, the pain may aggravate; however, it may be benign when the child is not active. For example, the symptom may worsen when the afflicted child involves in running or jumping. It may also cause increased pain when force is exerted on the sides of the heel. If the case is severe or the condition has progressed, the child may also start to walk lamely. In this condition either one or both of the heels may be affected.

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Causes of heel pain in children:

There are several causes of heel pain in children. For example a child may experience heel pain even if he/ she have hurt the heel. Such conditions are usually temporary if there are no intense damages to the bone. However in case of heel pain due to Sever’s disease, the cause of the disease is not confirmedly known. However, it is believed that most probably the condition is due to overuse of the heel bone or repeated trauma to the heel. Such heel overuse and traumatic injuries are common in most sports. The cartilage link in the middle of the two bones may not be able to bear all the strains caused due to such activities. Some children are prone to such condition, but the reason for this is not known. The risk of getting afflicted with the physical problem may increase, incase children who are prone to the condition and also involves in sports regularly. In winter season the pain experienced by the child is increased due to the climatic condition. Heavy weight may serve as a factor contributing to heel pain due to calcaneus children.

For those who are affected with calcaneus apophysitis related heel pain, tight calf muscles may be a common condition. There is a considerable pull on the growth plate and the cartilage from the calf muscles thorough the Achilles tendon. Pronate foot is also one of the factors that may cause heel pain. The back part of the heel bone may undergo uneven weight bearing.

Effective management tips for heel pain

In case of severe heel pain due to Sever’s disease one should ensure that the child is not involved in too much sport activities. This does not mean that one should stop playing, but cutting significant amount of strain on the heel is essential. Hence, it is essential to reduce heavy activities considerably, especially sports and those that causes strain on the heel. One should wear appropriately padded footwear especially at the heel. This will not only keep the help in preventing pressure on heel but it also gives a relieving experience and reduces the strain from the calf. Also avoid going out barefoot as it may have influence on your heel.

In order to get relief at the calf, one may adopt stretching exercises which should not exert pressure on other parts of the feet including heel. It is also believed that applying ice pack after any activity will help in obtaining comfort; this is highly adopted in case of calcaneus related pain. Ice pack therapy should be adopted approximately 2 to 3 times in a day.

Other tips for pain management:

Heel pain in children should be timely diagnosed and examined by a certified health care professional. This is essential as there may be several causes of the issue; hence, to accurately diagnose the issue one should seek a certified medical expert. Your doctor may also suggest you to use appropriate foot orthotics for a long time. There are several measures such as tapes or straps that may be used while playing sports or other activities to limit joint movement in order to reduce strain on the affected region.

In some cases the foot may also be treated with cast for two days to even six weeks. To further provide relief to the child from heel pain the doctor may also prescribe anti inflammatory medicines.

It should be known that heel pain in children may turn to be very serious; hence, it is important to treat the issue immediately as the pain is experienced.

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