Soreness in the heel of children is not very common, however when it does happen, the most frequent reason is a condition referred to as Severs disease. It is not really a “disease”, but it is the name that has regrettably widely used. It is appropriately termed calcaneal apophysitis. It is a disorder in the growing region at the rear of the heel bone. As it is a condition, of the growing bone, the disorder is self-limiting and will no longer be an issue when the growth of that bone has completed. It is more prevalent around the age groups of 10-12 years.
The typical symptom of Severs disease are soreness on activity and soreness on compressing the sides of the rear part of the heel bone. To begin with the pain is minor and will not impact activity much, but later it becomes more painful and impacts athletic levels and might cause limping. The exact reason for it is not known, but it is obviously an excessive use type problem since it is more common in children who participate in more sport and more common in those who have a higher bodyweight. Those with tighter leg muscles can also be at a increased risk for the development of this disorder.
Usually, the treatment of Severs disease is load management. The child is encouraged to remain active, but just scale back activity levels to a level which can be tolerated and not too uncomfortable. A cushioning heel pad in the shoe might be helpful to protect it. Ice right after sport might also be useful to help the inflammation. If the leg muscles are tight, then a stretches needs to be started. At times foot supports can help when the arch of the foot is flat. On rare occasions a splint can be utilized, and all activities stopped until it gets better. By the mid-teens the growing plate that this takes place at combines with the rest of the heel bone, and this ceases to be an issue at those ages.