What is Sever’s disease?
Sever’s disease is also known as calcaneal apophysitis. It is not as severe as its name may lead you to think. Sever’s disease is an inflammation (swelling) of the growth plate in the calcaneus bone, or the heel bone. SD is very common in active growing kids, effecting boys more than girls. SD usually occurs during a growth spurt around the age ranges of 8-13 years old in females and 10-15 years old in males. Kids often complain about certain shoes or cleats hurting them during practices, games, or even at recess. You will notice a decrease in physical activity in your child. Certain extreme foot types can exacerbate their symptoms, such as a flat feet or high arches. SD is also common in overweight children.
How is it treated?
Sever’s disease, or childhood heel pain, is often treated similarly to adult heel pain (plantar fasciitis). Stretching exercises are usually the first line of defense. You really need to help release all these tight posterior compartment muscles in your lower leg, i.e. your calf muscles. Your local podiatrist should have more information and can properly train your child on how to do these exercises. There’s also RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. The RICE treatment is used to relieve some of the swelling at the heel bone. Also heel cups and inserts can be worn in shoes, such as sneakers and cleats, to help the posterior calf muscles pull less on the heel bone. If the pain isn’t relieved by the above listed treatments, maybe an oral anti-inflammatory medication would help relieve some symptoms. However, oral anti-inflammatory medicines will only help with symptom relief and won’t be treating the underlying cause. To treat the root cause, one must loosen up the posterior calf muscles and allow the heel bone to rest. This is the main source of treatment for Sever’s disease.
If you or someone you know might be interest in discussing more about your child’s heel pain, come into the office of Frederick Foot & Ankle. We would be more than happy to schedule an appointment for you, at any of our 3 offices in Frederick, MD and Urbana, MD.