Sever's disease causes heel pain due to inflammation of the cartilage between the growth plates in the heel. Sever's disease doesn't affect adults, as the growth plates join together in adulthood. It is most commonly seen in children who are having a growth spurt or are very active. The condition can also occur when a child has collapsed foot arches, as the angle of their foot arches can affect their surrounding tendons and put strain on the Achilles tendon at the back of the heel. Strain due to bone growth and stress can cause inflammation of the cartilage, which can lead to reduced flexibility and muscle tightness around the heel. Here's an overview of the symptoms and treatment approach for Sever's disease:
In addition to heel pain, Sever's disease can cause pain along the sole of the foot and up the back of the lower leg. The pain, which may feel like a dull, throbbing ache, tends to intensify when the foot is in use. The heel will also feel tender, and as Sever's disease can cause muscle tightness, it's common for children to walk on their toes to avoid the discomfort of putting their heel down when they take a step.
Sever's disease doesn't resolve without treatment, and in order to bring the inflammation down, the podiatrist will formulate a treatment plan based on the severity of your child's symptoms. Rest is a crucial part of the healing process, so your child will have to refrain from high-impact activities to prevent the condition worsening. There's no need to stay off the affected foot altogether, but physical activity should be limited as much as possible.
The podiatrist may recommend a short course of anti-inflammatory medication if the swelling is severe, and this can speed up healing. Tight muscles can be loosened with targeted exercises, and strengthening exercises are useful for protecting the foot from further episodes of inflammation. In order to allow the heel to recover, custom-made orthotic insoles can be used to alter the distribution of weight across the feet and take pressure off the affected heel. If collapsed foot arches have caused Sever's disease, orthotic insoles can be made to lift the fallen arches and provide support to the surrounding ligaments.
Sever's disease can be successfully treated by a podiatrist, so if your child is experiencing heel pain, have their feet examined by a podiatrist as soon as possible.Share
17 November 2016
My son has always been an eager athletics competitor. He loves to run and jump, and especially loves to be the winner. He has been getting a lot of foot pain recently, and I wasn't sure if it was due to growing pains or if he'd been exercising too much. Luckily we found a great pediatric podiatrist who has been able to help him treat the pain and get some new foot inserts and shoes so that he doesn't keep having issues. This blog is all about podiatry for children and should be great for other parents with active kids.