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When Heel Pain Hits the Kids

Many adults suffer from heel pain, but the problem is not common in children. When it does strike a young person, it is most often caused by a phenomenon called Sever's disease. Sever's disease is characterized by inflammation of the growth plate near the back of the heel bone. This problem is also called calcaneal apophysitis, which refers to inflammation of the growth plate.

A child's heel grows in a very interesting way. When children are still very young, this area is mostly cartilage with a small amount of bone. Eventually, two areas of bone grow and spread toward each other. By the time the child is in his or her late teens, the two areas should fuse together to form the healthy adult heel. When this area suffers some type of interference, such as a trauma or damage from overuse, Sever's disease can be the result. There may be some relation to exercising on hard surfaces.

Children who suffer from this problem have pain that strikes the side and back of the heel, and sometimes the sole. It is usually most acute when the child is active. Tightness in the calf muscle is common as well. Children who suffer from Sever's disease generally get complete relief from the condition as the bone fills in the area occupied by cartilage. However, treatment is recommended to help relieve pain. This may include heel raises that cushion the foot, reducing the number or intensity of workouts, icing the area, and sometimes orthotics. In extreme cases. casting may be necessary.

Foot and ankle pain should never be ignored, whether it occurs in a child or an adult. Seek out a definitive diagnosis. Then, follow treatment recommendations to relieve pain and ensure healing.

For more information, contact Pittsburgh Family Foot Care, P.C. at (724) 941-9440 or visit www.pffcpc.com

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