Sunday, May 16, 2010

A common cause of heel pain in children

Heel pain is as common in children as it is in adults, except the cause of heel pain for most children is due to inflammation of the growing bone of the heel. This inflammatory condition is known as Sever’s disease or Calcaneal Apophysitis.

Sever’s disease is characterized by pain in the heel caused by inflammation of the calcaneal physis or growing heel bone. The heel bone becomes inflamed in an area in which growth is still occurring called the physis. The physis becomes inflamed due to excessive pulling of the Achilles tendon.  Most physicians agree that the heel pain in Sever’s disease is due to micro-trauma in the growing heel bone due to over pulling of the Achilles tendon; however, the absolute cause of Sever’s disease is unknown.

Sever’s disease is considered to be an overuse-disease in children between the ages of 8 – 12 years old. Symptoms are most common in active or overweight children, especially in children who play soccer, participate in gymnastics, or any activities that requires excess running or jumping. Commonly, children who play soccer develop Sever’s disease because of their footwear or soccer cleats. Most soccer cleats have negative heels, which will increase stress in the region where the Achilles tendon inserts onto the heel.

Sever’s disease can occur in one or both heels. Clinically, children with Sever’s disease will have no swelling or redness, but instead will have extreme tenderness on the back of their heel, especially when squeezed and causes heel pain in children. It can be easily treated with simple heel lifts in a child’s shoe or with rest, ice, and pain medication. However, in extreme cases it is necessary to immobilize the whole foot in a cast for a week or two for proper healing of the inflamed bone. If you think your child has Sever’s disease see a podiatrist. For more information on heel pain and other foot related issues, please visit our website.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Knowing your foot type will help finding shoes

Buying new shoes can be a stressful process for many people especially with the millions of brands and styles. Knowing your arch type will help determine what kinds of shoes will best suit your feet.

Here is a simple process to determine your arch type:
  1. Fill a shallow basin with water.
  2. Step in the basin and then immediately transfer your foot to a paper grocery bag or piece of paper.
  3. Next let the grocery bag or paper dry.
  4. After the water has set on the grocery bag compare your foot imprint to the figure below.

O = High arch
1  = High arch
2  = Neutral arch
3  = Flat arch

High, flat, and neutral arches all function differently in which a person walks or is also referred to as gait. So, it is imperative that a person finds a shoe that properly supports their foot. If a person has a high arch, they will need to make sure to purchase a shoe that has more cushioning. People with high arches need more cushioning and less support because their foot under pronates and encounters more stress. A high arch foot is more rigid and rolls outward while running and walking. Because a high arch foot under pronates it leads to great impact on the foot during gait.

People with flat feet or low arches need a shoe that is more supportive. A person with a low arch needs a shoe that is more supportive because they have excess pronation in their gait. Which means when they walk or run they tend to roll their foot inward. This leads to less stability in their foot. So having a more structured or supportive shoe is important.

 A person with a neutral arch just needs a stable shoe. A stable shoe that adequate support and cushion. People with neutral arches have a happy functional medium between high and low foot types. Neutral arches will adequately pronate or roll their foot inward for proper ankle stability and proper shock absorption.

Having the proper amount of pronation in your gait is important, so it is important to find the right shoe that will function with a your foot type and will make finding shoes easier. For more information on shoes and foot types check our website.

Helpful links about shoes: