Did you know that young children are at greater risk of injuries than adults? I have been working for a specialized children’s shoe store where we specialize in children with foot and leg problems. We often receive referrals from physical therapists, podiatrists, and pediatricians when a child needs to be fitted for an orthotic and a good, supportive, and substantial shoe.
In recent years, physical therapists have noticed a significant increase in overuse injuries among children. Even though there are so many benefits when our kids are involved in physical activity, doing too much or wearing the wrong type of shoes might lead to injury.
If your child has been experiencing heel pain, he or she might be diagnosed with Sever’s disease. While the name might sound a little scary, Sever’s disease is more common than you might think in growing children, especially those who are involved in physical activity.
Did you know that Sever’s disease is one of the most common causes of heel pain in kids?
Sever’s disease is an inflammatory condition of the growth plate in the heel bone, and it happens because our kids put a lot of stress and pressure on the growth plate when they are running, jumping, and being active every time their feet impact the ground! This often leads to an inflammation the growth plate which causes the heel pain.
It is extremely important to provide our kids with the correct pair of shoes if we want to keep their feet and legs healthy, especially if they are involved in a sport or high intense activity.
You are probably wondering why it is important to provide our kids with correct type of footwear for particular sports or activities…
The consequences of playing a sport in the wrong shoe size or in the wrong type of shoes can lead to injuries that impair growth and lead to long-term health problems for our kids.
Is your child involved in any of the sports mentioned below?
If your child is not wearing a sport specific shoe for any of the sports mentioned above, you are putting them at risk of injury (some parents don’t buy their kids a sport specific shoe because they say their feet are too wide for the shoes – which is a BIG MISTAKE because cleats do come in wide and extra wide widths!)
If your child is experiencing foot or leg pain, and has been diagnosed with Sever’s disease, the first step is to rest their foot, and the second step is to make sure their shoes fit properly and are supportive enough.
Why Is My Child Having Heel Pain? – Learn The Causes!
The two most common overuse injuries involve the knee and the foot, and if those two parts of the body are not protected by the correct pair of shoes, you will end up creating all sorts of foot and leg problems for your child!
Poor-fitting shoes contribute to the condition because they don’t provide enough support or padding for our kids’ feet. If your child is suffering from heel pain, the first thing you must do is to have them rest the foot until the pain starts to decrease or disappear altogether .
Sometimes all your child needs are shoes that provide extra support in the heel area, and that will take care of the problem. Heel cups are also great because they provide extra cushioning and padding and are an effective way of combating the condition.
Once the pain has fully disappeared, your child can return to perform their regular activities, BUT they need to be n the correct type of SHOES!
Please be aware that the conditions below increase your child’s risk of developing Sever’s disease:
- Having pronated feet.
- Having a flat or a high arch.
- Having short leg syndrome (I wrote a post where I describe how to take care of this issue called:Heel Lifts For Leg Length Discrepancy – The Best Solution To Your Kids’Leg Length Discrepancy!
- Being overweight
Keep a close eye on the way your child walks and runs and ask them how their feet feel after running around.
Pain In Your Kids Legs And Feet – When Should You Worry?
You should be concerned as soon as your child starts complaining about foot and leg pain! Let me emphasize that foot and leg pain in children is never normal, and you should always do something about it!
Parents! Please be aware of the most common signs that your child may not be wearing the correct pair of shoes for a sport specific activity:
- Pain in your kids’ feet or legs.
- Swelling in your kids’ feet.
- Changes in in his or her technique.
- Decreased interest in practice (Pay close attention to this sign)
Treatment For Sever’s Disease – Protect Your Kids Feet!
Remember that the first step to combat Sever’s disease or heel pain is to rest your kids’ feet (this is the primary treatment). All of the other effective forms of treatment involve shoes and the amount of support they provide.
Below you can find a list of other successful and proven methods of attacking the condition:
- Wearing shoes with arch support and a FIRM heel counter.
- Wearing heel cups that absorb the impact that your kids’ feet and legs receive every time they hit the ground. This will help relieve the stress on your kids’ heels.
- Make sure your child is stretching frequently, since this will also reduce the stress on the heel.
As mentioned before, the second and proven most effective form of treatment is providing your child with the correct pair of shoes. The shoes we want ot look for have more support and better structure than others!
There are two important features the shose must provide in order to be able to relieve or fully eliminate your child’s heel pain, and one of them is for the shoe to provide arch support and the other is for the shoe to have a very firm heel counter.
Below you can find a selection of the best everyday walking/running shoes for a child who is experiencing heel pain (these shoes are available in different widths such as medium, wide, and extra wide):
The shoes in the first-row fit “short”,which means that you need to go a whole size longer of the size that your child measures in the shoe measuring scale in order to allow for growing room.
The shoes in the second-row fit “true to size”,which means that you need to go a half a size longer of the size that your child measures in the shoe measuring scale in order to allow for growing room.
Your may might recommend some home remedies for Sever’s disease to reduce the intensity of the pain similar to the ones mentioned below:
- Stretch the foot and the leg to strengthen the leg muscles and tendons.
- Elevate the foot and leg and apply ice (for 20 minutes at a time three times a day)
- Give medicine such as Tylenol or Advil to reduce the swelling.
Heel Cups – Keep On Attacking The Condition!
If you have tried a good supportive shoe for your child and the pain still persists, it might be time to provide your child with other alternatives.
A heel cup fits inside the shoe and will reduce the impact and stress that your kids’ feet receive every time they impact the ground.
I have fitted heel cups before at the shoe store that I work for, and they work wonders! Some of the benefits of providing your child with a heel cup are:
- It provides shock absorption.
- It protects the heel.
- It prevents foot fatigue.
If your child is involved in a high impact sport such as soccer, basketball, or baseball, hell cups are a must! Heel cups will significantly reduce your kids’ heel pain and in most cases make the pain fully disappear!
The type of heel cup I have fitted at the shoe store is called Tuli’s Heel Cup. I am more comfortable recommending it since I have seen all the benefits it provides!
These heel cups will cushion the area of your kids’ heels where they are feeling the pain and protect it!
Below you can find the most recommended Tuli’s Heel Cup for kids who are experiencing heel pain!
I recommend getting the small size for your child because “small” is best for children under 80 lbs.
Take a look at the customer reviews on this product and notice how most parents have found it helpful even for their own feet, so if you have been experiencing heel pain yourself, you might want to give this heel cup a try!
Now that you know how to attack this condition, it’s time to provide your kids’feet and legs with some relief. NEVER underestimate the importance of well fitting shoes. You should always have your child fitted for shoes at your local kids shoe store, where a shoe fitter can properly measure and find good, supportive shoes for your children. Please avoid taking your children to be fitted for shoes at large retailers like Payless, Stride Rite, or Nordstrom because they will end up walking out wearing the wrong shoe size!
Do you have a child who is experiencing heel pain? Has he or she stopped doing a particular activity because of the pain? You must take action! Please share your finds and thoughts below so we can all benefit from them!