Sever’s Disease – What You Should Know And How To Treat It

In a world propelled by constant movement, many children often jump into activities without a good stretch or warm-up. This happens commonly during rigorous sports like football, basketball, gymnastics, tennis, or soccer. The heel region can experience significant pain and inflammation when there is a high training volume, resulting in the possibility of Sever’s Disease, which we will discuss more in detail below.

What is Sever’s Disease?
Sever’s Disease (Calcaneal apophysitis) is a common cause of heel pain in children. It is a degenerative condition of the posterior portion of the calcaneus caused by the inflammation of the Achilles tendon at the back of the heel. The injuries caused by Sever’s Disease are due to irregular loading, which is not evenly distributed on the heel. This condition is prevalent in young athletes who participate in repetitive running activities. From a scientific level, it is the heel’s primary growth plate’s swelling and irritation. The plate is a malleable layer of cartilage near the end of a bone where the majority of the bone growth happens. If appropriately treated, Sever’s Disease usually goes away within a few months and doesn’t cause any permanent or long-term damage.

Patients often initially will be concerned about an “Achilles tear” or “Achilles tendinitis.” The symptoms include pain, tenderness, and stiffness in the heel region and are most prevalent when walking or taking the first steps in the morning. The pain is usually worse at the back of the heel, and raising the foot usually eases the pain.

What are the Causes of Sever’s Disease?
Severs Disease is caused by inflammation of the growth plate near the heel bone in the foot. Due to stress or repetitive motion, this part of the foot is affected. When an individual overuses the muscles in the foot, they can cause severe stress on these muscles. The result is pain in the foot whenever it is put under pressure.

How is Sever’s Disease Treated?
If your child has Sever’s Disease, they should avoid sports and activities that cause pain or irritation to the heel.  Work with a pediatrician and foot specialist to develop a plan suited for your child that encourages healing of the affected area without causing a setback. The main goal is to reduce any pain that might develop from doing specific movements, promoting activity levels where the body will fully recover damaged tissues.

Medication for pain such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, or store brand) or acetaminophen (Tylenol or store brand) are often used. Follow the directions that come with the medicine for how much to give and how often to give it.

Sever’s Disease is the most common cause of heel pain and discomfort in children. The symptoms of Sever’s Disease are pain, tenderness, redness, and swelling of the area around the heel. Sever’s Disease is treatable and curable, but it’s essential to diagnose the condition early. A correct diagnosis is made with special tests on an X-ray of the foot. If you feel your child may be suffering from Sever’s Disease, be sure to contact us for proper medical treatment.


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