Traction Apophysitis – progress report
I have just seen the 8 year old child with Traction Apophysitis featured in previous posts. Since January 26, when I first saw him, he has followed a strict programme of reduced activity.
He has been fantastic in wearing trainers at school – remember that all the other children are barefoot – and severely limiting or stopping any activity that caused pain. Although, about a month ago we did let him start swinging a golf club at the driving range!
His mother reports that he no longer sits on the side of the bed in the morning rubbing his painful feet. Has no pain after school, even though he has recently started playing some soccer at break time and he is completely pain-free.
Today’s X-rays show a normal appearance of the calcaneal epiphysis (the growth area/point at the back of the heel), and improved bone density.
The plan now is to slowly start activity again and that will be rugby.(He plays barefoot). The trainers must still be worn as often as possible. Follow up will be in 6 months.
The diagnosis of Traction Apophysitis is usually based on the presenting clinical symptoms, as the X-ray findings are often inconclusive. Nevertheless we must never ignore the younger child with painful heels and always consider Traction Apophysitis.
Management is clearly “rest”, by reducing or avoiding those activities that cause pain. A supportive but soft/cushioning trainer is the best footwear. There is a place for short term anti-inflammatories followed preferably by topical gels and plasters.
Whatever we try, there is always the question of ‘what would have happened if we had done nothing?” I believe that that decision can only be made with the individual patient in front of you, so that you can respond with clinical judgement and personal empathy. However there is no doubt that for many children it is a transient condition.
My apologies for not getting the case history on the site as promised.
THE COMPLETE CASE HISTORY WILL BE ON THE WEBSITE SOON.