Does your child have significant heel pain so that they walk with difficulty? If so they may have a heel bone that is growing too fast in a growth spurt. This is a kind of growing pain where the tendons and muscles are tightly stretched because they cannot keep up with the growth of the heel bone, and is called Severâs disease.
Severâs disease most often occurs during growth periods in childhood. For boys, because their growth spurts are later, the condition strikes between ages 10 and 15. Girls generally have earlier growth spurts and Severâs disease commonly happens between ages 8 and 13.
This painful condition can be made worse by exercises that involve a lot of jumping and running on hard surfaces. Athletes, particularly those who play soccer, basketball or gymnastics can suffer from Severâs disease. These types of physical exercise can cause pain and swelling at the spot where the tendons attach to the heel.
Your child may be suffering from Severâs disease if you observe:
- Pain at the back of the heels especially when squeezed.
- Heel pain, redness, swelling, tightness or tenderness.
- Pain that worsens after activities involving running or jumping, but the heels feel better with rest.
- Difficulty walking or with a limp or on tiptoes.
Seek Out a Professional for Help with Severâs Disease
Call Advanced Foot & Ankle Center if your child has serious heel pain. If we suspect Severâs disease, we will recommend rest with a complete break from sports activities. Weâll also discuss:
- Icing the inflamed area.
- Taking anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve pain such as naproxen and ibuprofen.
- Wearing heel cushions inside shoes to absorb stress.
- Stretching exercises in combination with physical therapy.
- Wearing inserts and supportive shoes to reduce heel bone stress. This is especially important if your child has other foot problems like flat feet or high arches.
If needed, your child will wear a cast to force the heel to rest.
You Can Prevent Severâs Disease
The good news is that once your child reaches their full size, Severâs disease goes away. However, until then, practice these common-sense tips to prevent Severâs disease especially if your child is very active:
- Donât let your child over-train in sports and avoid jumping and running on hard surfaces. Make sure they get plenty of rest especially if they have any heel pain.
- Equip them in supportive shoes with lots of shock absorption.
- Excessive wearing of soccer cleats can worsen the pain.
- Keep them at a healthy weight to keep normal pressure on the heels.
- Regular gentle heel, calf and hamstring stretches can help keep tendons from getting tight.
We Can Help Relieve the Pain of Severâs Disease
Dr. Paul Betschart, board certified podiatrist has the right experience to diagnose and treat Severâs disease along with other pediatric foot problems. Please call us at our Danbury office at (203) 791-0466 or our Middlebury office at (203) 754-2249. You can also reach us via the website. Stop Severâs disease so your child can enjoy sports pain-free.