Heel Pain in Youth Athletes
By Dr. Rion Berg
August 29, 2014

You’ve had heel pain. You know how bad it feels and that it’s worse in the morning when you get out of bed. You probably haven’t thought about heel pain in kids because many of us assume it’s an adult problem. Heel pain does occur in kids but it’s not the same as heel pain in adults. Unlike the heel pain adults’ experience which subsides as the day goes on, heel pain in kids gets worse as the day goes on. Kid heel pain or Sever’s Disease typically affects children between the ages of 8 and 14, a time when they’re having their biggest growth spurt. At that time new bone is still forming at the growth plate of the heel bone. When kids are very active (youth athletes) during these growth years too much repetitive stress on the growth plate causes inflammation and pain.

Youth athletes involved in soccer, track, basketball, and gymnastics are most susceptible to this condition. Keep in mind that kids won’t always tell you when they’re in pain, particularly if they think you’re going to make them stop playing their favorite sport. Be on the lookout for limping and toe walking. These are hints that they may be suffering from the pain of Sever’s Disease.

Fortunately if you bring your kid in to see me, your Seattle podiatrist, early on this condition won’t turn into a long term problem. If I find out your child does have Sever’s disease through examination and imaging, I’ll assess your child’s foot mechanics and then make the necessary recommendations to heal this condition.

Some things to help prevent this condition from occurring are:

  • A healthy diet to keep kids from becoming overweight
  • Supportive shoes that are appropriate to their chosen sport
  • Limit their wear of cleated athletic shoes
  • Avoid activity beyond their ability

To find out if your child is suffering from Sever’s Disease, contact the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City at 206-368-7000 or request and appointment online.