Sever's Disease and Its Effect on Children
Sever’s disease, or pediatric calcaneal apophysitis, is quite common among adolescent children and causes heel pain. It sounds scary, but Sever’s disease is treatable and won’t cause lasting damage.
It manifests as a swelling and irritation on the cartilage that forms the growth plate in the heel. This growth plate is where most of the bone's growth happens. It is weaker than the surrounding cartilage and is more at risk for injury.
Growth Spurt and Sever’s Disease
Sever's disease usually occurs during an adolescent’s growth spurt, around the time of puberty. During this time, the bones, muscles, and tendons in that area grow at different rates. This can cause the tightening of muscles and tendons and cause a pulling of the growth plate in the heel.
Vigorous and strenuous activities and sports, which adolescents usually engage in, can aggravate and tighten muscles and tendons, injuring the growth plate. This injury can lead to the pain associated with Sever's disease.
Who is at risk for Sever’s disease?
- Kids in their growth spurt (usually 9–14 years old)
- Highly active kids
- Kids who have a high, rigid, or stiff arch
- Kids who have tight Achilles tendons.
Symptoms of Sever's Disease
- Swelling in heel
- Redness around heel
- Pain when heel is squeezed
- Stop or pause activities that cause pain
- Ice pack on the heel every 1–2 hours, for 15 minutes at a time
- Anti-pain and anti-inflammation medication
- Heel gel cups/supportive shoe inserts to lower stress on the heel
- Open-backed shoes
- Elastic wrap/compression stocking to help with pain and swelling
- Physical therapy and exercises
- Walking boot to limit movement of ankle/heel.
- Wear well-fitting shoes and sneakers with padded soles
- Avoid heavy or high-heeled shoes
- Stretch before and after sports
- Ice heel for 15 minutes after sports
- Wear special shoe inserts.
Also Read: Signs Your Child Is Suffering From A Foot Problem
By age 15, the growth plate would have finished growing. After that, your child won't get Sever's disease again.
If your child is suffering from heel pain and you want to get it checked, you should take him/her to a good Bay Area Foot and Ankle Specialist.