Easing growth spurt pain

severs-apmr-s135758495If your child is going through a growth spurt and is active in sports, watch for signs of heel pain. He or she may develop Sever’s disease, an injury in which the growth plate in the lower heel becomes inflamed and painful.

Sever’s disease is the most common cause of heel pain in children, and it’s likely to occur during a growth spurt. These periods of rapid growth typically occur in girls between the ages of 8 and 13 and boys who are between 10 and 15.

During a growth spurt, the heel bone grows faster than the ligaments in the leg, so muscles and tendons can become tight and overstretched. Constant pressure on the Achilles tendon—the tissue that connects the calf muscle to the heel—can damage the growth plate.

This can occur during sports that involve running and jumping on hard surfaces, such as basketball and gymnastics. It can also occur as a result of poor-fitting shoes, excessive exercise and standing for long periods.

Symptoms of Sever’s disease include pain, swelling or tenderness in one or both heels; limping after running; difficulty walking; and discomfort after waking up in the morning. Your child may need to take a break from sports and other physical activities to reduce the pressure on his or her heel.

In the meantime, physical therapy can help your child heal. A PT can teach your child exercises that will stretch and strengthen leg muscles and tendons.

If you want to learn more about how physical therapy and acupuncture can ease growth spurt pain, contact us here.

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