We see many junior players complaining of longstanding calf and heel pain. This pain is usually due to a condition call severs and can easily be treated by visiting your local podiatrist.
Severs is a growth plate condition where the achilles tendon is pulling on the soft part of the heel bone. The condition is related to growth and age so symptoms can come and go and is usually seen in juniors from the ages of 8-12 but can be ongoing into teenage years.
Footwear has a large part to play in the condition as junior players move from school shoes, to runners to football boots. Runners and most good school shoes have a graduated midsole that offloads the achilles whereas football boots tend to not have a midsole and are very flat. Due to the sudden change in footwear when the season starts the achilles does not have time to adapt to the extra strain.
One thing I have noticed when treating juniors with this condition is that it is usually in the chronic stage (present for 6 weeks or more) and they have been playing through the pain. They have only mentioned it to their coach or parent when the pain prevents them from participating in activity. It’s important that any discomfort is addressed quickly and by visiting your local podiatrist your child’s heel or achilles pain can be properly diagnosed and an extensive foot and footwear assessment undertaken so your child can return to sport as quickly as possible.
Kelly Fuller is a podiatrist with Surfcoast Podiatry and consults from Anglesea Physiotherapy Clinic and Torquay Physiotherapy Clinic.