Sever?s disease is a common cause of heel pain in children especially in the young and physically active. Severs disease is a painful bone disorder that results from inflammation (swelling) of the
growth plate in the heel. A growth plate, also called an epiphyseal plate, is an area at the end of a developing bone where cartilage cells change over time into bone cells. As this occurs, the
growth plates expand and unite. It is very important that damage to the growth plate is avoided.
Severs disease arises due to a traction of the Achilles Tendon from the heel bone or from excessive impact forces to the area during peak growing periods. Most children will present with one or many
of the following backgrounds. Recent periods of rapid growth/changes of body mass/strength. Overuse, Multiple sporting clubs, multiple sports, high intensity of training. Poor footwear (insufficient
heel height). Training errors. Tight surrounding muscles. Osseous growth proceeds that of the soft tissue. Poor biomechanics and posture (excessive pronation/flat feet).
If your child has any of the following symptoms, call your pediatrician for an evaluation. Heel pain that begins after starting a new sports season or a new sport. Walking with a limp or on tiptoes.
Pain that increases with running or jumping. Heel tendon that feels tight. Pain when you squeeze the child's heel near the back. Pain in one or both heels.
In Sever's disease, heel pain can be in one or both heels. It usually starts after a child begins a new sports season or a new sport. Your child may walk with a limp. The pain may increase when he or
she runs or jumps. He or she may have a tendency to tiptoe. Your child's heel may hurt if you squeeze both sides toward the very back. This is called the squeeze test. Your doctor may also find that
your child's heel tendons have become tight.
Non Surgical Treatment
The doctor might recommend that a child with Sever's disease perform foot and leg exercises to stretch and strengthen the leg muscles and tendons, elevate and apply ice (wrapped in a towel, not
applied directly to the skin) to the injured heel for 20 minutes two or three times per day, even on days when the pain is not that bad, to help reduce swelling, use an elastic wrap or compression
stocking that is designed to help decrease pain and swelling, take an over-the-counter medicine to reduce pain and swelling, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin). Children
should not be given aspirin for pain due to the risk of a very serious illness called Reye syndrome. In very severe cases, the doctor might recommend that the child wear a cast for anywhere from 2 to
12 weeks to immobilize the foot so that it can heal.
In some cases, children will simply outgrow Sever's Disease when they reach a certain age, but this does not mean that symptoms should be ignored. If children express that they are in pain, this
should always be taken seriously by their parents or guardians. Heel pain may be a sign of Sever's Disease and this condition should not be left untreated, due to the damage it can cause to the
growing heel bones. Scheduling a doctor's appointment is always the first step to take in gaining a diagnosis of symptoms and speedy help for the child.