Children's Heel Pain

Children’s feet are constantly developing, which can lead to a growth centre pain (Sever’s Disease) in the heel. This common condition can be very painful. Fortunately, it’s an easy one for our podiatrists to manage.

This condition is the most common cause of heel pain in children aged 9-12 years. Pain is caused by traction of the calf muscle and Achilles tendon on the growth centres of the heels.

The problem is generally self limiting and will resolve of its own accord when the growth centres fuse. Until the bones fuses however, the condition can be very painful and will limit exercise and sporting pursuits.

What causes Sever’s Disease

The Achilles tendon attaches the triceps surae (calf muscles) to the calcaneus (heel bone). As a child grows the calcaneus grow faster than the surrounding soft tissue, which means the Achilles tendon is pulled uncomfortably tight. This increase in tensile load can cause inflammation and irritation of the calcaneal apophysis (growth plate) which is known as Sever’s Disease. The pain is exacerbated by physical activities, especially ones involving running or jumping. Sever’s disease most commonly affects boys aged 12 to 14 years and girls aged 10 to 12 years, which corresponds with the early growth spurts of puberty. Treatment can include heel raises, footwear changes, exercises and orthotics.