Does Your Child Have Sever’s Disease?
Sever’s disease is a common cause of heel pain in growing and physically active kids.
The most important thing to know about Sever’s disease is that, with proper care, the condition usually goes away in under two months. Early diagnosis, proper care, and taking measures to protect the heel can safeguard against future problems.
Common Symptoms Of Sever’s Disease
There are several common symptoms of Sever’s that you should remain mindful of and on the lookout for. If your child is suffering from Sever’s disease, they will usually experience pain in the heel. Most kids say the back of the heel hurts. Some also say that the bottom part of the heel hurts. When they wake up, their feet will be stiff and sore. This condition is excruciating during sports.
If you notice that your child is limping or having redness or swelling in the heel, they may have Sever’s. These symptoms generally will get worse during or after physical activity – and gets better after rest.
What Causes Sever’s Disease?
Sever’s disease occurs during one of the growth spurts all children have. During a growth spurt, your child’s bones, muscles, and tendons can all grow at different rates. This causes the muscles and tendons to pull on different joints and bones. Sever’s disease occurs when the feet’ muscles and tendons pull on the heel’s growth plate. Sever’s is also called an ‘apophysitis.’ This is an inflammation of the Achilles tendon’s growth plate. This growth plate works by traction; the Achilles pulls on this growth plate, and the heel bone grows with that tension. Too much of this tension can cause pain and irritation of that growth plate.
If your child is a student-athlete, that can increase their risk of developing Sever’s – as activities and sports can pull on the already-tight muscles and tendons of the foot, putting further strain on the growth plate and ultimately injuring it. This condition tends to occur more in sports that require the use of cleats. We consider Sever’s Disease as the swelling and irritation of the Achilles tendon’s growth plate.
Usually, children can develop Sever’s around 9-14 years old. Sever’s disease can’t be seen on X-rays easily, so an in-person examination and discussion about your child’s daily activities with a knowledgeable physician- mainly if they are a student-athlete – is needed along with imaging to diagnose this condition.
Methods Of Treatment For Sever’s Disease
The only thing that cures Sever’s disease is time. A child with Sever’s will need to cut down or altogether avoid activities that cause pain – especially if their chosen sport involves a lot of jumping or running.
Your child’s healthcare provider might recommend the following treatments in addition to rest:
Putting ice on the heel every 1-2 hours, for 10 or 15 minutes at a time.
Over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatories can be given to reduce pain and reduce swelling. We prefer natural anti-inflammatories and remedies, especially for children.
Supportive heel cups or other shoe inserts may be beneficial as they can cushion your child’s heel, preventing further injury.
A physical therapy routine can be beneficial to help stretch and strengthen the muscles and tendons of the feet. If your physician is thoughtful, a physical therapy program will be designed to treat all tense muscles from that growth spurt. There are powerful fascial connections throughout the body, and the rest of the leg, the hip, and the spine should not be ignored during therapy sessions.
Your child may be prescribed a walking boot in some severe cases if their symptoms don’t go away with a few weeks of rest and treatment. Some physicians place kids into a cast with this condition.
In most cases, Sever’s can be overcome with at-home rest and exercises.
If you suspect that your child has Sever’s disease, we’re happy to help diagnose and recommend a treatment plan! Make your appointment today: