Shoes are often a cause of pain and problems in people, and kids are no exception. Our expert biomechanical Podiatrist Sam shares his experience on the link between cheap sneakers, football boots and kids heel pain below:
One of the things that I find on a regular basis is children presenting with calcaneal traction apophysitis - AKA Sever’s Disease - wearing ‘cheap sneakers’. As a parent of three boys and one girl I appreciate how quickly children can destroy footwear and thus the lure of these cheaper alternatives to the big brand names. Unfortunately, when we look at why these shoes are cheap there is a problem, that is, they are cheap because they are not solid rubber. If you peel back the inner liner and look under the cardboard you will find a cross hatch bracing of rubber and lots of air pockets!
Since Sever’s is related to an overloading of the calf and Achilles complex and the subsequent pulling on the growth plate at the back of the heel bone, shoes that can support and stabilise the feet by resisting excessive rolling in or out as well as provide some heel lift become very important. Unfortunately the cheaper shoes often fall short in both of these important features.
As an alternative, the typical big sports brand children's sneakers offer good support and most often include a heel lift of approximately 10mm (this should be checked with the sales assistant however as some brands do produce very low heeled sneakers as well). To improve longevity, the full vinyl cross-trainers tend to hold up better to the rigours of the life of our active, healthy, happy and greatly energised kids. Ultimately though, even with good shoes, additional support is required such as a generic arch support and even further heel lifts added to the sneakers.
For the children playing the various codes of football, the boots too are a real key to treating Sever’s effectively. Traditional football boots often have no built in heel lift and if anything, the rear tags, being sparse, will dig in when the player is jogging back to position which effectively places the heel lower than the forefoot, creating a similar straining effect of running uphill whilst being on the flat footy field! There are some new boots on the market which address this issue without varying too much from the look of a traditional boot, the most popular with my patients being the Asics Lethal Stats.
An additional treatment we have been using to effectively help manage Sever’s and get kids back to the sport the love in the shortest time is Rocktape - an elastic sports tape. Due to its unique nature it can be used to provide compression to the growth plate which helps reduce swelling as well as stabilise the plate during sport. We’ve had fantastic outcomes with it as part of the treatment plan.
Two weeks with Calcaneal Spur and finally got to see Doc. He sent me to Kevin @ Eleven and with One Appointment, he had me walking without Crutches. Yes! It still hurt. Did the Stretching, Rolling my Foot on a Spikey ball and Iced it occasionally. Return visit, after he had his Holiday, and I' am walking fine. They do NOT want to see me again, unless it deteriorates. Which it has not :-)