Recently, heel pain has been a common complaint in the classes I coach gymnastics. Most of the time resulting in the gymnast missing key portions of the class. After doing some research, I came across information concerning Sever's Disease, one possible cause for heel pain in young athletes.
Sever's Disease is found in pre-adolescent boys and girls ages 9 to 14. This is a temporary disease, as it is related to the growth patterns of the body. The calcaneus bone (heel bone) grows at a faster rate than the achilles tendon that is attached to it. This creates greater tension on the attachment site on the calcaneus bone. Sever's Disease is inflammation and pain caused by aggravation of this attachment site. This disease is more common in athletic/active children due to repetitive high impact pounding such as running or jumping, as well as tight hamstrings, quadriceps or calf muscles.
This condition may manifest itself as red, swollen, tender heels, tight achilles tendons or calf muscles. It is best for the gymnast or dancer to seek medical attention to look at options for treatment. Some treatment options may include a heel cup, an ankle brace-like support that has a slight pad at the heel to relieve some stress on the achilles by decreasing the angle (Image Below). Another option may also be orthotics or taped arch support. As well as stretching the hamstrings, quadriceps, and calf muscles followed by icing the area for maximum 10 minutes will help with inflammation and tightness. Physical therapy is also a course of treatment that will help decrease pain and get your student back to their sports. It is always a good idea to seek a medical professional's opinion when there is pain. When the growth plates close, which takes about two years, the pain should go away. For more information concerning this condition please check out the links below:
References: (above links)
CarliAnn & Ella