Sever’s disease a painful heel
Has your child ever complained of having heel pain? Chances are it was most likely Sever’s Disease! Sever’s is the most common form of heel pain in children/ young adolescents and often causes limping both during and after sporting activities. It can be very frustrating for kids and parents as the heel pain can often prevent children from enjoying their sport and playing at their true potential. Here at The Movement Centre, there is plenty your podiatrist can do to help your child get out of pain!
What is Sever’s Disease?Sever’s Disease is an overuse condition common in young athletes aged 6-15. It is an injury that affects the attachment sight of the achilles tendon into the heel bone, which can cause stress on the growth plate underneath. Children in this age group are most susceptible as the growth plate is still forming, thus it is more susceptible to stressful events. The medical term for Sever’s Disease is ‘calcaneal apophysitis’, which means inflammation of the growth plate of the heel bone.
What causes calcaneal apophysitis?There are a number of causes of Sever’s, all of which are still linked to children being very active and overusing their achilles tendon. It is most common in explosive sports, such as basketball, soccer, netball, football and tennis. Some possible factors contributing to Sever’s may include:
- Sudden or excessive changes in exercise load – such as adding an additional day of sport
- Limited strength – Reduced strength and balance can decrease the ability of the body to control high forces during explosive activities.
- Limited mobility – Tight calf muscles can increase the stress placed on the heel bone
What are the symptoms of calcaneal apophysitis?The pain experienced with Sever’s Disease will be different for all children, but you will often find your kids limping off the sporting field in the initial stages. Listed below are some other common symptoms:
- Heel pain that increases with weight bearing activities such as running and jumping
- Stiffness/tightness in the heel and Achilles tendon
- Limited range of motion in the ankle
- Clinically, the podiatrist will find severe discomfort when squeezing on both sides of the heel.
What are the treatments for Sever’s DiseaseResearch has shown that utilising a number of treatment modalities at the right times is the most appropriate management plan for Sever’s Disease. We tend to find that children with heel pain respond very quickly to treatment once Sever’s has commenced. Possible treatment options may include:
- Ice application after activity
- A review of all sports and exercise to assess what sports cause symptoms and why the heel pain may have first occurred.
- Specific strengthening and stretching exercises
- Advice on appropriate footwear
- Shoe inserts to offload the achilles
- Anti-inflammatory measures