Iselin Disease Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

What is Iselin Disease?

Iselin’s disease is a childhood condition of the fifth metatarsal in which the tuberosity begins to show traction apophysitis. The condition is benign, as well as self-limiting, so it’s unlikely to cause especially severe long-term problems. In non-technical language, Iselin disease is when the 5th metatarsal bone’s bottom growth plate begins to swell and become sore. The 5th metatarsal is the long bone that’s situated on the outside of your foot. It connects to the little toe.

In children, the areas from which the bones grow are referred to as growth plates. These plates are made of cartilage, which allows them a certain amount of flexibility but at the cost of being softer and easier to damage. Iselin disease is generally seen in children age 9 – 14 years of age. However, it’s most common in physically active children, particularly in tween and teen children who engage in jumping and running sports.

The growth plates eventually fuse as the child grows older. The 5th metatarsal generally fuses completely by around 14 for young boys and 11 to 12 years of age for young girls. The benefit of this and the reason the condition is considered benign is that the pain generally resolves as the growth plate fuses and hardens into bone. If you would like to learn more about pain treatment options, continue reading or contact Dr. Jarman today to schedule an appointment.

Causes, Symptoms, Treatment of Iselin Disease

What Causes Iselin Disease?

Iselin disease is generally caused by repeated tension and pressure on the 5th metatarsal’s bottom growth plate. In specific, the peroneal tendon can exert quite a bit of tension in the area, due to how it attaches to the 5th metatarsal bone. If a child has tight calf muscles, doctors consider that a risk factor. The tension can cause Iselin disease to develop due to the increased tension that occurs during physical activity.

Flat feet, or feet with high arches, are also risk factors for developing Iselin disease. Not just that, but footwear that doesn’t properly support the arch of the foot can contribute.

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

What are the Most Noticeable Symptoms of Iselin Disease?

Pain in the foot will generally appear during physical activity. This will cause a limp in many children, and the pain will worsen if the child continues to engage in physical activity. The pain tends to go away with rest. You may notice your child walking on the inside of their foot, attempting to relieve pressure on the peroneal tendon. You may also notice swelling on the outside of the foot.

Tests, Diagnosis, and Treatment Options for Iselin Disease

Who is Best Qualified to Diagnose Iselin Disease and Why?

As with most conditions, Iselin disease can only be diagnosed after a thorough physical examination of the child’s foot. A pediatric podiatrist (foot doctor) specializes in the foot and ankle. They are highly trained to look for and find abnormalities of the foot in children. During the examination, the podiatrist gently checks the movement range possessed by each joint of the child’s foot. A gait analysis is also performed, so the podiatrist can spot abnormalities in foot motion. There’s also a biomechanical assessment, in order to gauge the child’s posture and how they stand on their feet. Foot and leg muscle strength is also tested and assessed. Lastly, the podiatrist will examine the child’s shoes, looking for any odd wear patterns.

In general, an x-ray may not be required in order to diagnose Iselin disease. However, the doctor may order one so they can ensure there are no other foot conditions with symptoms similar to Iselin disease or other abnormalities.

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.

What are the Iselin Disease Treatment Options?

Treatment for the condition revolves around pain and inflammation treatment. Since the condition generally clears up as the child ages, there’s no benefit to any surgical procedures. Therefore, podiatrists will generally recommend things such as:

  • Rest from excessive or heavy physical activity.
  • Applying ice to inflamed areas.
  • Stretching out both the calf and the peroneal muscles.
  • Custom orthotics prescribed by your foot doctor designed to aid the child’s posture and relieve excess pressure.
  • Extra support footwear designed to support the muscles.
  • A walking boot/brace to help calm any acute symptoms, should the pain be severe enough.

Your child’s feet are designed for life

Make an appointment today if your child has Iselin Disease.