Overuse and stress on the heel bone through participation in sports is a major cause of calcaneal apophysitis. The heel’s growth plate is sensitive to repeated running and pounding on hard surfaces, resulting in muscle strain and inflamed tissue. For this reason, children and adolescents involved in soccer, track, or basketball are especially vulnerable.
Other potential causes of calcaneal apophysitis include obesity, a tight Achilles tendon, and biomechanical problems such as flatfoot or a high-arched foot.
What is Calcaneal apophysitis?
Calcaneal apophysitis is a painful inflammation of the heel’s growth plate.3
It typically affects children between the ages of 8 and 14 years old, because the heel bone (calcaneus) is not fully developed until at least age 14.
Until then, new bone is forming at the growth plate (physis), a weak area located at the back of the heel. When there is too much repetitive stress on the growth plate, inflammation can develop.
Calcaneal278Calcaneal apophysitis is also called Sever’s disease, although it is not a true “disease.” It is the most common cause of heel pain in children, and can occur in one or both feet.
Heel pain in children differs from the most common type of heel pain experienced by adults. While heel pain in adults usually subsides after a period of walking, pediatric heel pain generally doesn’t improve in this manner. In fact, walking typically makes the pain worse.
A fracture is a partial or complete break in a bone. Fractures in the ankle can range from the less serious avulsion injuries (small pieces of bone that have been pulled off) to severe shattering-type breaks of the tibia, fibula, or both.
Many people mistake an ankle fracture for an ankle sprain, but they are quite different and therefore require an accurate and early diagnosis. They sometimes occur simultaneously.
To diagnose the cause of the child’s heel pain and rule out other more serious conditions, the Podiatrist will obtains a thorough medical history and asks questions about recent activities.
The Podiatrist will also examine the child’s foot and leg.
X-rays are often used to evaluate the condition.
Other advanced imaging studies and laboratory tests may also be ordered.
Chronic ankle instability usually develops following an ankle sprain that has not adequately healed or was not rehabilitated completely. When you sprain your ankle, the connective tissues (ligaments) are stretched or torn. The ability to balance is often affected. Proper rehabilitation is needed to strengthen the muscles around the ankle and “retrain” the tissues within the ankle that affect balance. Failure to do so may result in repeated ankle sprains.
Repeated ankle sprains often cause – and perpetuate – chronic ankle instability. Each subsequent sprain leads to further weakening (or stretching) of the ligaments, resulting in greater instability and the likelihood of developing additional problems in the ankle