Apophysitis is a condition where severe pain is felt in the growth plate of heel. It is the common cause for inflammation and pain in feets. Children between the age of 8-14 years are usually affected. At the age of 14, the heel bone remains undeveloped. In the meantime, a new bone starts to form at the growth plate. Under repeated stress, inflammation develops in the growth plate. Another name for apophysitis is Sever’s disease.
The main cause of apophysitis is over-stress on the bones and tendons of heels. Repeated striking on hard surfaces causes muscle strain in the heels. They also cause inflammation of heel tissues. The sports person involved in basketball, soccer, or track are mainly in danger. Other possible causes include tight Achilles tendon, flat-foot or high-arched foot, and obesity.
The common symptoms include:
- Pain in one or both sides of heel
- Difficulty in feet movement
- Intense pain during squeezing of sides of heel
A thorough medical exam of the child’s foot is done to analyze the actual cause of symptoms. X-rays and other imaging tests are also done. After correct diagnosis, the treatment procedure is chosen. The different treatment methods included are:
- Reduce activity
Strenuous activities which may enhance the pain should be avoided.
- Heel support
Proper devices should be used to hold the heel in position. This avoids further injuries. Devices such as custom orthotic devices and temporary shoe inserts are used.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), as prescribed by the doctor, are helpful to relief pain. Ibuprofen is such a medication capable of reducing inflammation and pain.
- Physical Therapy
The inflamed tissue can be properly healed through physical or stretching therapies.
In some cases, the foot and ankle are kept totally immobilized. A cast is used in the feet which promotes healing.
Post-treatment, the child is required to be under complete rest. The child should avoid over-stress or weight on the affected part. Applying cold therapy regularly on the affected part is beneficial. Heavy body weight should be avoided. Well-supportive shoes should be used to support heels. The recovery usually takes 2-3 months. Stretching exercises can be employed for increasing flexibility.
The potential risks with apophysitis treatment is:
- Uneven feet
- Pain and swelling
- Medications side-effects
- Itching or irritation