Sever's Heel Pain in Children

Sever’s or Calcaneal Apophysitis Syndrome is very common in children between the ages of 9 to 14years and presents as pain in the back of the heel/s.

Especially in young athletes if kicking sports and sports involving running and jumping.

We see a lot of young AFL, Soccer, Netball, Rugby League and Union, Hockey players with Sever’s just to name a few.

But it can also occur in children who are not as active in sport.

One of the great things about Sever’s is that it will always resolve at some point – but that’s not much solace for a child crying as they come off the field, not able to enjoy activity

 

child holding their heel which is sore and could be Severs

Children Shouldn't Be in Pain

Children running happily without Severs heel pain

We all want our children to be as active as possible and it can be upsetting to see them in pain.

As podiatrists we also want your children to be free of pain and able to run around and get the most they can out of an active lifestyle.

Over the years we have helped hundreds of children (maybe in the 1,000?) to get back to their favourite activities.

We have the knowledge, experience and technology to diagnose, and treat children’s heel pain.

 

Like many conditions the initial first response consists of the following treatments:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Elevate
We don’t tend to do compression for this condition as it is not a muscular problem.

Your child will work out how much activity they are able to do without being in too much pain.

If pain is restricting their lives and stopping them from being active, then it is time to get some help from one of our friendly podiatrists.

What To Do First

A child applying ioce to their sore heel

Tailored Plan to Suit Your Child

A podiatrist applying strapping tape to a patient with heel pain

Although heel pain in children is quite common, every child is different and no two children will respond exactly the same.

So we listen to you and your child to work out the full picture of what led to the injury before we get started.

Some of our treatment for heel pain in children can include:

  • Strapping,
  • footwear advice including footy boots, netball shoes, school shoes etc.,
  • stretches and exercises – made simple,
  •  custom arch supports or foot orthotics,
  • simple heel raises

As you can see in the x-ray to the left there is a piece of bone at the back of the heel which looks like it is separate.

It is actually joined to the calcaneus (heel bone) by cartilage. As we grow up these two pieces of bone fuse together to make one larger heel bone.

The small plate of bone at the back of the heel is joined to the strongest tendon in the body, the Achilles!

The Achilles attaches the strong calf muscles to the heel bone allowing us to lift the heel and thrust forwards for walking, running, jumping, and especially kicking.

This is why children often suffer pain in the heel bone whilst it is starting to fuse to the larger calcaneal bone.

All x-rays of children’s heels at the same make the area seem quite rough, but this is totally normal.

 

What Exactly is Sever's?

An X-ray of a child's foot between the ages of 10 and 14. It shows the growth plate or Calcaneal Apophysis
A red orthotic with a colourful top cover

Custom Orthotics

One of the most effective and fast treatments for heel pain in children is custom foot orthotics.

These are insoles made to the exact shape of their feet which go into their shoes and alter the forces going through certain tissues.

This can quickly relive tension from the Achilles tendon and put less stress on the growth plate.

Our custom orthotics are made from 3D laser scanning that we perform in the clinic with our 3D laser scanner, creating incredibly accurate results.

The better the alignment with your foot, the more effective orthotics are.

We are also able to use different densities of materials in the orthotics so that the heel bone itself sits in a very nice cushioning pad.

High Tech Tools

We use everything at our disposal to help get the right results for you, and this includes the best technology available.

As mentioned above we take images of your feet using a 3D laser scanner when making your orthotics.

Before that we’ll analyse your running and standing gait and possibly your balance using our Sensor Medica Treadmill.

This treadmill couples a 1.2mtr force-plate to measure the exact pressures occurring under your feet with a super high speed camera.

These tools allow us to slow your gait down to frame by frame so that we can see exactly what your feet and legs are doing at each stage of gait, as well as seeing which parts of the feet re going under the most stress.

This has helped us to diagnose patients quicker, working out the root cause of their problem, which we can then treat.

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