Sever's Disease (Children's Heel Pain) Can be a Painful Side-Effect of Summer for Boys and Girls Between the Ages of 9 and 14

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Summertime sports and activities can be brutally painful for children who develop overuse foot injuries. A frequent site for such injuries is the back of the heel. This painful condition is called Sever's Disease or Calcaneal Apophysitis. OurHealthNetwork.com's (http://www.OurHealthNetwork.com) board-certified podiatrist explains what Sever's Disease is and how to care for it.

Summertime sports and activities can be brutally painful for children who develop overuse foot injuries. A frequent site for such injuries is the back of the heel. This painful condition is called Sever's Disease or Calcaneal Apophysitis (http://www.OurHealthNetwork.com/SeversDisease/). Sever's Disease most frequently occurs in active boys and girls between the ages of 9 and 14.

Sever's Disease differs from the most common types of adult heel pain, plantar fasciitis and heel spurs, by location and onset of pain. While plantar fasciitis and heel spur pains occur on the bottom of the adult heel, and are most intense when first standing on the foot, Sever's Disease produces pain at the back of the child's heel and is most intense after periods of running and jumping.

Frequent symptoms of Sever's Disease include pain when the back of the heel is squeezed from side-to-side. This pain is usually more intense than pushing on the back of the heel. Pain is also frequently worse after periods of running and jumping, while rest usually relieves the symptoms. Limping is frequently another symptom of Sever's Disease.

Sever's Disease (Calcaneal Apophysitis) occurs when the growth plate at the back of the heel becomes inflamed due to the pull of the Achilles tendon on the heel. The Achilles tendon attaches to the back of the heel at the site of the heel's growth plate, and when it lifts the heel up, it pulls on the growth plate with great force. When this pull occurs too often (overuse) or is too forceful, the growth plate at the back of the heel becomes inflamed and painful, and Sever's Disease is the result.

For immediate self-help treatments, Dr. Paul R. Kasdan, a prominent podiatrist and medical director for OurHealthNetwork.com, suggests:

  • Rest to limit the pull of the tendon on the heel. This allows the growth plate to begin to heal.
  • Comfortably apply ice to the back of the heel to reduce growth plate inflammation and pain.
  • Wear a shoe with a higher heel to lessen the pull of the Achilles tendon. If a higher heel is not practical, use a heel lift pad such as Dr. Jill's Adjustable Heel Lifts (http://www.OurHealthNetwork.com/store/item.asp?item_id=596).
  • Wear an open-backed shoe.

"Because Sever's Disease can be related to foot and Achilles tendon abnormalities, recurrences may occur until these problems are addressed," states Dr. Kasdan. To effectively treat and prevent Sever's Disease, doctors frequently recommend using custom-made sports orthotics. These biomechanical devices help prevent recurring attacks of this debilitating disease.

OurHealthNetwork.com makes custom-made sports orthotics from comfortable, durable, shock-absorbent materials that allow them to be thin enough to fit in cleats and other low-volume sports and dance shoes. For more information, please visit http://www.OurHealthNetwork.com/SeversDisease/ .

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Dr. Paul R. Kasdan
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