Maximize Summer Fun by Minimizing Your Child’s Heel Pain

For kids in Columbus, summer months mean the best time of the year to play outside from sun up to sun down. The health benefits that come along with the increased activity levels are great for your feet and the rest of your body. In some cases, aches and pains in the feet and legs may develop as kids go from a more sedentary “school year” lifestyle to their high activity level in summer. While mild temporary soreness may be normal, foot pain that is constant, abnormal or affects the child’s daily activities should be examined by your podiatrist.

Heel pain is not only one of the most common complaints in adults, but kids can be similarly affected. In adults, the most common cause of heel pain is plantar fasciitis. One major cause of heel pain that is unique to the pediatric age group is called calcaneal apophysitis or Sever’s disease. The calcaneus has a primary and secondary area of growth which creates a growth plate in the back of the bone. This growth plate appears in girls around age four to six years old, and slightly later in boys around seven to eight years old. In Sever’s disease, various factors agitate the growth plate and cause it to become irritated and painful. Increased physical activity that places tension on the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia is one of the main causes of Sever’s disease. Obesity, trauma to the heel bone and diet disturbances also may play a role in the irritation of the calcaneal growth plate.

Children with Sever’s disease will often complain of heel pain occurring more when they are involved in sports activities. Pain will also be felt when the heel is squeezed while the child is standing, bearing weight on the affected limb. Luckily the treatment for this condition alleviates pain and does not involve surgery. Implementation of a stretching regimen for the child, resting for a period of time from sports and custom orthotics are a very effective treatment. In severe cases, a cast may be required. When the growth plate fuses, typically between 12-15 years of age, symptoms should resolve completely. If your child experiences heel pain, be sure to contact your podiatrist for treatment that will allow them to continue enjoying their summer and healthy lifestyle pain free!

Please visit www.ColumbusFoot.com for more information or call 614-885 FEET (3338) to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus Podiatry & Surgery is located on the North side of Columbus, Ohio near Worthington. If you would like to see a podiatrist in Dublin, Ohio near Tuttle Crossing, call 614-885-3338 for an appointment.

By Dr. Animesh (Andy) Bhatia