Heel pain in children is commonly caused by calcaneal apophysitis or Sever’s disease. This is a traction apophysitis at the calcaneus due to the pull of the Achilles tendon insertion and the origin of the plantar fascia. Typically, the child is involved in a youth sport or activity, such as soccer, baseball, track or basketball, which involves a lot of running and jumping.
Usually, the condition will resolve on its own over time but it is helpful to treat symptoms in the active child using many of the aforementioned treatments such as taping, proper shoe recommendations, ice, stretching (not during acute episodes), etc. I like to apply a low Dye strapping with a closed basket weave on the heel. This has worked very well in allowing children to participate in their activity relatively pain free.
Institute a stretching exercise program for the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia when the child is not in a pain cycle. Addressing footgear is also critical in allowing the child to return to activity and reduce symptoms.
During the exam, the child with calcaneal apophysitis will have a positive squeeze test with medial and lateral compression over the heel with localized tenderness. The activity level is based on response to treatment and minimizing pain with activity.