Last week we discussed Sever’s Disease, or calcaneal apophysitis, which is the major cause of heel pain in children. Let’s now discuss how to help.
The most immediate relief can be gained by taking an anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen. This will help take the edge off the pain and allow them to continue to participate in athletic events. A higher dose of ibuprofen needs to be taken in order to have the pain relief. Pediatric doses depend on the weight of the child and their ability to swallow pills. This can have an very beneficial effect in a very short time.
Another easy thing that can be done it for the child to wear heel lifts. A major component to the pain is the pull of the Achilles tendon on the growth plate. Especially taut Achilles tendons must be relaxed in order to decrease their pull. Heel lifts can take the tension off of the Achilles and allow the inflammatory process at the heel bone to calm down.
Achilles tendon stretching is the treatment which takes longer to have an effect, but will result in long term relief. Stand facing a wall with feet facing forward and shoulder width apart. Take two steps backward. With one foot, take one step toward the wall, while keeping the other foot 2 steps from the wall. Lean forward and place both hands against the wall while keeping both keep pointing forward. This should cause the Achilles tendon in the foot furthest from the wall to be stretched. This should not be painful, but should stretch the tight tendon. Hold this position for 30 seconds then switch feet. Do this at least 5 times a day, more if possible. This will help to eventually eliminate this problem so that heel lifts and medication are no longer needed.
The combination of the previous treatments should help to resolve the heel pain in a matter of weeks, so that children can maintain their active lifestyles.