Parks are a fun place to take active kids, and Hermann Park in Houston is one of the best. With trails, playgrounds, ponds, and even a zoo, it’s a great place for your active child to run and burn energy. The more active your child is, though, the more you need to watch for heel pain problems. However, you can prevent Sever’s disease before it leaves your child limping in pain.
Sever’s disease is an overuse injury that affects bodies when they’re still growing. The bones in the feet grow more quickly than the muscles, tendons, and ligaments attached to them, which can stress and aggravate the connective tissues. The now too-short connectors pull on the heel bone. The strain inflames the growth plate, and your child ends up with aching heels.
Busy, athletic kids have the highest risk for the problem, since running around and participating in sports stresses the already tight Achilles tendon. However, you can help your son or daughter avoid the pain while staying healthy and active. Stretching and wearing appropriate footwear protects your child’s heels and may prevent this problem. Try a few basic stretches with your child daily to relax and lengthen the tendon:
- Wall Stretch – Stand your child with one foot behind the other and hands flat against a wall. Have your child lunge forward on the front foot while keeping the back knee straight and both heels on the ground.
- Heel Drops – Have your child stand on a step with his or her heels hanging off the edge. Let gravity help your child lower the heels as far as possible, then return to neutral.
- Towel Stretch – While sitting, loop a towel around your child’s foot and let him or her hold the ends. Have your child flex and pull back gently on the towel to stretch the calf.
Check your son or daughter’s footwear as well. Shoes need to have low heels and plenty of cushioning under the back of the foot. If your child has flatter or higher arches than normal, they may need orthotics or heel lifts to help pad the back of the foot and provide the necessary support.
You don’t have to just hope your child won’t have heel pain. You can do things to prevent Sever’s disease. If your son or daughter does develop painful heels, let our expert team at Parker Foot & Ankle know about it. You can reach our Houston office by calling (281) 497-2850 or using the website contact form.