16 Dec What is Sever’s Disease?
What Is Sever’s Disease?
It’s the most common cause of heel pain in children, but most people aren’t sure what Sever’s disease is. Here’s a quick reference to this painful childhood condition.
About Sever’s Disease?
Known medically as calcaneal apophysitis, Sever’s disease is an injury to the growth plate in the lower back of the heel. This growth plate attaches to the Achilles tendon. Sever’s disease commonly happens during a child’s growth spurts, when growing bones pull excessively on the tendons.
Who Is at Risk of Getting Sever’s Disease?
Since it coincides with growth spurts, it tends to happen to boys between the ages of 10 and 12 and girls between 8 and 10.
Sever’s disease is more common among children who:
- Play sports.
- Use poorly fitting footwear.
- Have flat arches.
Signs and Symptoms
These are the typical signs of Sever’s disease. Note that these symptoms could also be signs of Achilles tendonitis, flat feet or many other conditions. Since many foot conditions mimic each other’s symptoms, it’s important to consult a foot care professional for the correct diagnosis.
- Pain in heels gets worse after running around or playing sports.
- Stiffness in toes and joints.
- Walking on tiptoes.
- Swelling around the heel.
What Treatments Are Available for Sever’s Disease?
Here’s the good news about Sever’s disease. There’s no treatment because children eventually grow out of it. As the bones continue growing, the ligaments relax and go back to normal.
At the same time, Sever’s disease can be very painful. Fortunately, there are things you can do to treat the pain.
Physical Therapy and Rehabilitative Exercises
One of the best things you can do to ease the pain of Sever’s is to start a routine of rehabilitative exercises. Talk to your podiatrist or a sports therapist about a stretching routine to strengthen and stretch your child’s muscles and ligaments. You can also find stretching exercises online.
In your routine, emphasize stretching exercises that focus on the hamstrings, calves, and arches of the feet.
Your child’s pain will only increase if he or she attempts to play through it. The best approach is to switch to a less intense activity until the Sever’s is fully healed and the pain is gone.
It can be hard to tell children to slow down or quit their favorite sport, but ignoring the pain or trying to fight through it could cause long-term damage to your child’s ligaments and bones.
Wear Supportive Footwear
Children with Sever’s disease should start wearing cushioned, supportive shoes. These will minimize the stress on the ligaments that cause pain.
Use Custom Orthotics
Custom orthotics can provide extra support to the heel and arches. This support protects your child’s feet, eases the stress on the ligaments and can lead to quicker healing of Sever’s. Talk to your child’s podiatrist about adding custom orthotics to their shoes. At Shuman Podiatry & Sports Medicine, we create orthotics using advanced 3D imaging for a perfect fit.
How Long Will It Take for Sever’s to Heal?
Typically, the symptoms of Sever’s disease will clear up in about two months. At that point, it should be safe for your child to return to normal activities. Continue monitoring your child’s foot health for any signs of pain or weakness.
Keep Children’s Feet Healthy With Our Help
At Shuman Podiatry & Sports Medicine, we warmly welcome children of all ages who want to enjoy the benefits of strong, healthy feet. We can diagnose Sever’s disease and create a treatment plan that will get your child back on the playing field as soon as possible.