Thursday, 23 February 2017 00:00

Sever's Disease Causes Heel Pain in Young Athletes

It's a fact - growing pains can be real.

Has your child complained of heel pain or had trouble walking? He may be suffering from Sever's disease. With this condition, the heel bone grows too fast during a growth spurt, causing the tendons and muscles to stretch too far.

The pain can be aggravated by certain sports that involve a lot of running and jumping on hard surfaces including basketball, gymnastics and soccer. Also, because of the pronounced stiffness of soccer cleats, wearing this footwear can make the condition even worse.

Because Sever's disease occurs during a growth spurt, the risk of having this condition differs for boys and girls because their growth spurts happen at different ages. Boys have a greater chance of Sever's disease between ages 10-15, while girls' growth spurts appear earlier at ages 8-13.

Watch your child for:

  • Heel pain that worsens with running and jumping actions, then improves with rest.
  • Tenderness and tightness at the back of the heels that gets worse when squeezed.
  • Swelling, redness or pain at the heel.
  • Limping or difficulty walking or even walking on tiptoes.

The good news? Sever's disease disappears when the child is full grown because the foot muscles and tendons have caught up to the growth of the heel bone. Until then, equip your child with appropriate well-cushioned and supportive shoes for each sport and discourage over-training.

Diagnosing and Treating Sever's Disease

At Abramov's Comprehensive Foot Care, we'll discuss your child's sports activities along with the history of pain and other symptoms. We will confirm our diagnosis of Sever's disease by squeezing the heel area to observe if it is painful.

It's important to reduce stress on the heel bone. The child must rest and avoid sports until he is pain-free. Also:

  • Ice the inflamed area.
  • With a doctor's permission, ease the pain and inflammation with anti-inflammatory drugs like naproxen or ibuprofen.
  • Add inserts to supportive shoes to reduce stress on the heel bone, especially with other foot abnormalities present such as flat feet or high arches.
  • Perform regular stretching exercises or physical therapy.

If the pain is severe and these methods don't provide relief, a cast can force the heel to rest.

When the pain and inflammation have eased, the child can gradually resume regular activities.

We Can Help With Any Pediatric Foot and Ankle Concern

Dr. Boris Abramov and Dr. Tatyana Abramova, doctors of podiatric medicine, have extensive experience with pediatric foot and ankle problems of all kinds. Call us today at 443-872-7052 for an appointment at our Pikesville, Maryland office. You can also request an appointment at the website. Your child does not have to suffer from the pain of Sever's disease - we can help!