Iselin Disease Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Painful inflammation of the outer foot.

What is Iselin Disease?

Iselin disease is an overuse injury to the growth plate (apophysis) of the fifth metatarsal, the long outer bone of the foot. It typically develops in children aged 9 to 14, particularly those who are physically active.

In Iselin disease, growth plate becomes swollen and inflamed, which may lead to pain or discomfort. However, the condition is unlikely to cause long-term problems. Surgery is never required.

What Causes Iselin Disease?

Iselin disease is typically caused by repeated pressure the growth plate of the fifth metatarsal. This is the longest bone of the foot, connecting to the pinky toe.

Growth plates are the areas from which bones grow. They are made of cartilage, which makes them flexible and softer than bone. However, that softness means that growth plates are easier to damage. Children who engage in high-impact physical activity, particularly sports that involve running and jumping, are more likely to get Iselin disease.

Other risk factors for Iselin disease include tight calf muscles and low or high arches.

Iselin Disease Foot Pain in Child - X-Ray
Fifth Metatarsal Foot Image

The Symptoms of Iselin Disease

The most common symptom of Iselin disease is pain that occurs during physical activity. You may also notice that your child limps or walks on the inside of the foot. This is an attempt to alleviate pressure on the outer foot.

Pain typically goes away when the child rests the foot.

How Is Iselin Disease Diagnosed?

Iselin disease is diagnosed via physical exam by your pediatric podiatrist, someone who specializes in treating foot and ankle conditions in children.

If Dr. Jarman suspects Iselin disease, he performs the following:

  • Digital x-rays of the feet
  • Range of motion, including each joint in the child’s foot
  • Gait analysis, looking for abnormalities in foot motion
  • Biomechanical assessment, to gauge posture and the child’s feet when standing

The doctor may also inspect your child’s shoes for odd wear patterns. For example, if your child is walking on their inner foot, there may be evidence on the sole of the shoe.

If your child is complaining about pain in the foot or ankle, or you’ve noticed something odd in their foot posture or gait, don’t hesitate. Consult with Dr. Jarman for a comprehensive gait/walking assessment, professional advice and treatment options that best suit your child.

Iselin Disease Treatment Options

Iselin disease typically resolves once the growth plates fuse, which occurs around age 12 in girls and 14 for boys. In the meantime, your podiatrist will want to manage discomfort to help ensure your child remains active.

A pediatric immobilization brace is used to offload the growth plate and allow for healing.
Additional recommendations for Iselin disease may include:

  • For a chronic reoccurring condition, custom orthotic management can help prevent injury and overuse
  • Rest from strenuous activity
  • Applying ice or a cold compress to the affected area(s)
  • Stretches to the calf and peroneal muscles (those connecting to the foot)
  • Change to more supportive footwear

Please remember that foot pain is never normal. If your child experiences pain during physical activity, schedule an appointment with Dr. Jarman today.

Your child’s feet are designed for life

Make an appointment today if your child has Iselin Disease.
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