With spring sports almost over, your young soccer player may be experiencing heel pain. When an adult patient complains of heel pain, the diagnosis is usually plantar fasciitis (an inflammation of the connective bands of tissue at your heel), but with younger feet (especially 10-15 year olds), there may be a different culprit at play.
One of the most common soccer injuries in young players experiencing heel pain is Sever’s disease, which is basically an inflammation of the part of the heel bone (the heel plate) that has not completely matured, or closed together, and has developed in two parts.
Tell-tale signs that your child may have Sever’s disease include a slight limp (your child may not even notice it) and complaints of dull pain in the area right behind their heel.
In order to properly diagnose Sever’s disease, your podiatrist will have to take x-rays of the foot to rule out a fracture as the cause of pain. Once you have a diagnosis, custom orthotics can help relieve some of your child’s discomfort both on and off the soccer field, and he or she may have to change cleats (athletic shoes with less than four cleats in the heel may not offer enough support for growing feet.)
Regardless of whether your child has Sever’s disease or another problem is causing the heel pain, don’t delay coming in to see your podiatrist. Foot and ankle pain is not a normal part of growing up and, particularly for young athletes, it can be debilitating and devastating. If your son or daughter is experiencing heel pain, schedule an immediate appointment with Dr. Andrew Schneider to evaluate the cause and find a solution.