What Can We Do About It?
Left untreated, the child will eventually develop plantar fasciitis as a young adult (Moms, don’t let your children grow up to be cowboys…or have a case of plantar fasciitis that could have been prevented!)
For those reasons, a couple of treatment options that often deliver high success rates are custom orthotics and a proper stretching routine.
The orthotics can help correct abnormal motion—which, in turn, can prevent future problems from rearing their ugly heads—and the right stretches will alleviate Achilles tendon tightness.
In fact, those options, when combined, can often get your child back to normal activities within only 1-2 weeks. Unfortunately, kids can be treated by stopping their activity so they can get better. Symptoms return shortly after activity resumes. We find it is important to maintain activity during treatment so we know the treatment plan is going to be successful.
A great benefit of youth is there inherent flexibility of soft tissue. Measurable improvement in an adult Achilles tendon may take up to 4 – 6 weeks while it may take only 10 – 14 days for your child.
(Flexibility is wasted on the youth!)
What Happens If You Don’t Address the Problem?
After around 12 or 13, there will be a “grace period” of a couple of years when your child doesn’t have heel pain anymore.
But don’t sit back and breathe a sigh of relief just yet!
What will often happen is a reemergence of heel pain somewhere during the years of 18-20—at which point your (now grown) child has graduated to adult plantar fasciitis. And the explanation for the time between is simply that’s how long it takes the tissues to get beat up.
Now, take a moment and consider this:
Dependents can stay on your insurance until the age of 26.
That means you can either pay now or pay later to have the problem resolved—but it’s easier (and cheaper!) to treat when your child is young.
With regards to the presenting symptoms, we often find that athletes—and especially soccer players, gymnasts, and runners (likely attributable to the footwear and amount of running required by the sport)—will start to experience problems later in the season.
In the same spirit, heel pain tends to be worst in the middle-to-end of physical activity. (Adult heel pain is significant with the initial steps following a rest period.)
We also want to note that the pain isn’t always connected with physical activity. Sometimes accidentally contact around the heel can be quite painful.
Contrary to what some parents might think, if your child has Sever’s, he or she is not faking with regards to the pain. This is a condition that really hurts—and I can fully attest to that. And because this is the case, there might be some complaining, whining, and/or irritability.
If your child doesn’t complain about pain—and children are sometimes reluctant to speak up about something like this—one potential telltale sign is if he or she starts walking kind of funny. If you observe an altered gait, what you’re seeing is your son or daughter taking measures to avoid pain.
And speaking about “altered gaits,” it’s worth emphasizing that overpronation is a serious red flag for this particular issue.
If you just aren’t sure whether or not your child has Sever’s you can try gently squeezing a potentially affected heel. This will cause a tremendous amount of pain, and likely give you a definitive answer.
Your child’s reaction can potentially erase all doubt! Depending on the recent behavior of your child, this may make you feel terrible…. or not.
Get Your Child the Help He or She Needs!
We cannot emphasize this nearly enough:
If heel pain is keeping your son or daughter away from favorite activities, bring him or her in for an appointment. In doing so, you are both giving your child the opportunity to become active again and preventing larger issues from developing in his or her future.
Your child means the world to you. We know it hurts you when they’re in pain. Take action and do something about this today—connect with our office by either calling (317) 545-0505 or use our online form and contact us right now!