Painful heels in children may not be common, but as soon as it does happen it is almost always a condition known as Severs disease. This is a painful condition at the back of the heel in children that is also known as calcaneal apophysitis. It generally occurs throughout the ages of 9-10 years. The heel bone typically grows from two areas of bone with the thin section of cartilage between them. Eventually when development of this bone stops, the two regions of bone merge together to make the one calcaneus. Severs disease is thought to be a strain of that growing region of bone separated by that cartilage. Usually the symptoms only occur in children which are active, but sometimes being overweight might be a factor. Typically the heel bone is painful at the back, especially to squeezing from the sides. The pain will likely be only present after activity in the early stages, but later it can be painful during sport.
The treatments of Severs disease can more often than not be a challenge as it is essential to reduce activity levels as soon as the symptoms are interfering with sport, but there is certainly an obvious reluctance of most children to do that. The use of ice after activity is often advised to relieve pain levels. A gentle heel raise or foot orthotic can also be helpful. Stretching is additionally sometimes advocated for this, nevertheless the most crucial is the hardest to accomplish and that is reduce activity levels. In many instances this is all that is needed, however in the most reluctant children putting them in a walking brace or plaster cast may be needed to minimize activity level. In every case the condition is self-limiting because it will go away once the two growing region of bone within the calcaneus bone merge together in the early teenage years, so it can sometimes be a case of handling the symptoms until that happens.