What is calcaneal apophysitis?

At the back of the heel bone in children is a growing area called the apophysis that is an area of cartilage between two areas of bone. This is normal and this is how the heel bone grows. By the mid- to late-teens the two areas of bone merge together to form one heel bone that no longer grows (the calcaneus). The problem is that this area of cartilage that growth occurs at can become damages and painful creating the condition known as calcaneal apophysitis. The main risk factors for this are being overweight and higher levels of physical or sporting activity. The heavy pounding on the harder sports field are also thought to be an issue. The main symptom of this condition is pain around the edges of the back of the heel bone when palpating it. There is pain during activity and pain often persists after the activity is stopped. The best treatment for calcaneal apophysitis is to reduce activity levels so that some activity can be continued with. A soft heel raise to cushion the ground impacts is also warranted. This heel raise also lessons the pull from the Achilles tendon on the heel bone. The use of ice after the activity is also helpful to reduce the pain. If none of this initially helps, then a further reduction is activity levels is probably needed while continuing with the heel raises and ice therapy. Some also might try foot orthotics at this stage. The next step is the use of a walking brace to further limit activity and weightbearing down to the most minimal levels for it to heel. Regardless of the outcome of treatment, the condition will resolve itself by the mid- to late-teens as the growth plate merges with the bone and it is just not possible for the condition to continue.