Children and Adolescents

Sever’s Disease (Heel Pain in Children)

If your child is experiencing heel pain that is made worse by physical activity (such as running, jumping and playing sports) and relieved by rest, chances are they have developed Sever’s disease. Sever’s disease is one of the most common conditions seen and treated in our Podiatry practice on a daily basis. The pain from the conditions arises from inflammation of the growth plate at the back of the heel bone as a result of micro-trauma caused by contraction and compression of the growth plate by an excessively tight Achilles tendon (at the back of the heel) and the plantar fascia (underneath the heel).

Risk Factors for Developing Sever’s Disease

  1. Boys aged between the ages of 6 and 13 are more likely to suffer from this condition
  2. Active participation on sports and running activities
  3. Flat foot types (over pronation)
  4. Obesity
  5. Sudden increases in duration or intensity of activity
  6. Changes in footwear
  7. Recent growth spurt
  8. Tight calf muscles

Treatments for Sever’s Disease

The following treatments are commonly prescribed by Podiatrists to treat heel pain resulting from Sever’s disease

  1. Custom foot orthotics (insoles)

    • These help to fix any structural alignment problems such as excessively flat or high arched feet
    • Orthotics help to take the tension off the Achilles tendon (at the back of the heel) and the plantar fascia (under the heel)
  2. Heel lifts and heel cups

    • These can help to reduce the amount of tension being placed on back of the heel from an excessively tight Achilles tendon
  3. Anti-inflammatories

    • Ibuprofen (when indicated) for short periods of time
    • Icing the back of the heel
    • Low level laser therapy
  4. Targeted stretching programs

    • Stretches that target the plantar fascia and the calf muscle help to improve flexibility and reduce the amount of stress being placed on the growth plate

Once the symptoms have reduced it’s important for the child to slowly re-introduce their desired activities. By gradually increasing the level of activity your child does, the soft tissues and bony structures of the foot and ankle are able to adapt to the added stresses and strains being placed on them when playing sport. This will prevent re-injury and ensure your child can continue participating in their favourite activities.

If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s foot health Dr. Stephanie Cooper is always happy to answer any of your questions. You can reach her at the Innaloo practice by call us on (08) 92428566 today!

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