Heel pain in children; “Sever’s Disease” or “Calcaneal apophysitis”
Does your child suffer with heel pain? This is a common sports injury and much of the heel pain that active young children experience is due to Sever’s Disease. This is an injury to the cartilage growth plate (the apophysis) at the attachment site of the Achilles tendon to the bone of the heel (calcaneus) and therefore is also known as “Calcaneal apophysitis”.
The injury occurs from overuse and repetitious movements and increases in volume of sport (particularly an over emphasis on one type of sport). Children are especially susceptible because they have spongy growth plates and they are gaining more height, mass and power through their body at this time. There are also biomechanical factors that add to this problem such as over-pronation of feet, leg-length discrepancies, poor pelvic stability and internal rotation of the tibia. Other rare and more serious medical conditions can also be underlying this problem and may need to be investigated.
Dr Luke Inman
Is assistant doctor to the NSW Waratah’s “A’s” and Sydney Swans AFL teams and currently practices at Narrabeen Sports Medicine Clinic 02 99711188
MBBS, BMedSci(Hons), Registrar in Sport and Exercise Medicine.