Children can be very physically active, but sometimes they suffer from a sports injury that can cause heel pain. Sever’s disease is also a condition that results in painful heels, and is only found in young athletes who are going through a growth spurt. This means that once the growing period is over, they can resume their normal activity. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help ease pain in the meantime.
What Is Sever’s Disease?
Sever’s disease is a condition that is found only in adolescents who are going through a period of rapid growth. During this time, there is a lot of pressure and strain put on the epiphyseal plate in the heel, which can lead to inflammation and pain. If your child is complaining of heel pain that gets worse with activity, it may be Sever’s disease. Try the “heel cup” test by cupping the heel with your hand and very lightly squeezing it. If your child experiences a lot of pain when you do this, you should give us a call. Another symptom to watch for is a change in gait, or the way he or she walks. If putting pressure on the heel hurts, your child may start walking on toes to avoid discomfort. While there may be slight swelling or redness in the heel, this does not happen with every child.
What Causes This Condition?
This condition occurs when the heel bone grows faster than the muscles and tendons in the leg. This exerts a lot of pressure on the growth plate, leading to inflammation and pain. Anything that increases the amount of pressure put on the epiphyseal plate is going to double the chances of developing Sever’s disease. This means if your kids play high-impact sports (running cross-country, soccer, football, etc.), they are more susceptible. Also if they are overweight, have flatfeet, or have short leg syndrome, they are also at an increased risk. It is even worse for children who play sports wearing cleats because this type of footwear does not offer very much cushioning in the heel area, which means any impact is taken full-force by the heel.
What Are the Treatment Options?
It isn’t possible to prevent Sever’s disease, but there are things you can do to help ease the pain. Unfortunately, one of the greatest things you can do for your children is to have them discontinue their sport until they are healed. This may be difficult, so remember to stress the importance of cross training—while they are healing, they can try low-impact sports such as swimming or cycling. There are different exercises they can perform to strengthen their muscles and take away some of the excess strain as well. They can also wear heel cups, or medical grade over-the-counter inserts, or best of all custom orthotics that offer more cushion. As always, the standard icing regimen can work wonders for pain. Once they are able to walk and run continuously without discomfort, they can resume their normal activity.
Getting a Doctor’s Help
It can be intimidating to deal with the pain of Sever’s disease on your own. Get help from Dr. Mark Gasparini in Massapequa, NY by calling (516) 804-9038 to schedule an appointment today.