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Information & Common Foot Problems

Calcaneal Apophysitis

Calcaneal apophysitis is inflammation of the growth area of the heel bone. Apophysitis presents as pain in the heel of youngsters between the ages of 10 and 15. The associated pain from apophysitis is directly in back of the heel and along the sides, somewhat different than Achilles tendonitis and bursitis. The cause of apophysitis is thought to be impaired circulation to the developing heel bone. It may be associated with certain foot types and can be aggravated by sports.

Pain is greatest whenever vigorous activity such as running, jumping, etc. is involved. Many times apophysitis is exacerbated with new shoes, particularly spikes under the heel.

Initial treatment is relatively simple and provides relief symptoms. Felt heel lifts, arch supports, icing, low doses of non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, and some limitation in sports participation will probably relieve the pain.

After a period of three to four weeks, sports participation may be allowed depending on the child's level of discomfort, cutting back if symptoms reoccur. With closure of the growth center, all symptoms may disappear.

Other conditions could present themselves to calcaneal apophysitis. Diagnosis needs to be made by a foot specialist so that appropriate treatment can be implemented.