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Strategies for Calcaneal Apophysitis

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BasketballWe’re deep into kids’ winter sports right now – from basketball to indoor soccer to track, the winter weather doesn’t seem to slow children down in the least! However, adolescent heel pain certainly can.

If your young athlete is complaining of painful heels, or you notice signs like limping, reduced interest in activities, or swelling and redness around the heel, these are all signs of Calcaneal apophysitis, also known as Sever’s disease. This condition is usually seen in growing and active kids between the ages of 8 and 15.

Despite its name, this condition is not actually a disease at all, but rather an unfortunate injury. Calcaneal apophysitis occurs when a sudden growth spurt results in the heel bone growing faster than the Achilles tendon attached to it. This causes the tendon to tighten and pull on the heel bone, making it tender to the touch, inflamed, and sore.

Your child will outgrow this problem eventually when the tendon catches up, but in the meantime, rest is the best treatment – not exactly an easy thing for an active child!  Luckily, there are some low-impact winter options, like swimming and skating, that aren’t as stressful on heels. These can replace running and jumping activities so kids don’t have to stop completely. That’s good news for both kids and their parents! There are also some things you can do to ease your child’s discomfort:

  • Ice the area to reduce swelling and pain.
  • Make sure your child’s shoes have plenty of cushion and support.
  • Invest in orthotics to direct pressure away from the heel, or heel cups to provide added cushion.
  • Perform stretching exercises to strengthen the tendons and muscles around the heel.
  • Prevent recurrence by wearing proper footwear and stretching regularly. Gradually return to sports, and avoid excessive play on hard surfaces.

If adolescent heel pain from Calcaneal apophysitis has interrupted your child’s winter activities, get the help you need to treat this condition by calling (309) 661-9975 to reach our Bloomington, IL office. We’ll help your kids get back to the activities they love!

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