Has your child ever experienced sore heels? Has heel pain ever held them back from participating in school sport? There may be a very reasonable explanation for this….
As we grow; our bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments all grow at different rates. Our bones are generally the structure that grows the fastest. This means, that our muscles, tendons, and ligaments may need to stretch and pull in different places to keep up with them, which can cause discomfort in a few different areas such as the heel. This is known as Severs disease.
Severs disease is a condition experienced in many growing children. It is one of the most common conditions that can cause heel pain during stages of growth, and can be evident between the ages of 8 to 14. Severs disease usually presents as pain at the back and side aspects of the heel bone (calcaneus) during or after periods of activity. Activities which involve running, jumping, and change in direction can aggravate or worsen symptoms. The main cause of pain in Severs disease is repetitive stress placed on the growth plate at the back of the heel from the Achilles tendon.
Factors that may increase stress at the heel are; increased levels of physical activity; increase in weight; excessive pronation or flat feet; poor footwear; tightness of the calf muscles and Achilles tendon.
To diagnose Severs disease, a clinical assessment is required. This will involve taking a thorough clinical history, and performing biomechanical assessment of the lower leg and foot. An x-ray may be performed, but not always necessary.
The treatment of Severs disease can require a combination of interventions.
• Making sure your child is wearing appropriate footwear for daily activities and sport is essential. This should be a supportive, stable, and cushioned shoe.
• Resting from activities that irritate or increase the pain.
• Using ice at the area of pain after activity to reduce inflammation.
• Heel cups to increase cushioning under the heel.
• Stretching of the calf muscles, ad strengthening of surrounding muscles.
• Foot orthoses to improve foot posture and reduce pressure at areas of pain.
• In severe cases of Severs disease, NSAIDs (such as ibuprofen) can be used to reduce inflammation.
Severs disease, although very common and painful, is also extremely manageable with the help of a podiatrist.
Our team at Sole Podiatry are here to help your children get back into playing pain free! Please contact our clinic with any further questions or concerns you may have.