This is a condition that is quite often misdiagnosed as growing pains this generally affects boys more than it may affects girls, especially between the ages of 9 and 15. This is a common disease in
children that play the following sports. Soccer. Football. Basketball. Hockey. However it is not limited just to these sports, nor is it simply a pre-season type condition related to fitness. Sever?s
Disease is common and although it does not sound good there is no need to panic as it is not something you can catch or incurable. Children have a growth plate in the heel bone, which at puberty
becomes solid and forms part of the heel, prior to puberty this can cause pain especially if the child?s foot rolls inwards or outwards too much, this can cause increased stress on this growth plate
and therefore causes pain.
Apart from age, other factors that may contribute to developing Sever?s disease include physical activity, any form of exercise that is weight bearing through the legs or stresses the soft tissue can
exacerbate the pain of the disease. External factors, for example, running on hard surfaces or wearing inappropriate shoes during sport. Overuse injury, very active children may repeatedly but subtly
injure the bones, muscles and tendons of their feet and ankles. In time, the accumulated injuries cause symptoms.
The typical clinical presentation is an active child (aged 9-10 years) who complains of pain at the posterior heel that is made worse by sports, especially those involving running or jumping. The
onset is usually gradual. Often, the pain has been relieved somewhat with rest and consequently has been patiently monitored by the patient, parents, coaches, trainers, and family physicians, in the
expectation that it will resolve. When the pain continues to interfere with sports performance and then with daily activities, further consultation is sought. It should be kept in mind that failure
to instruct patients and parents that continual pain, significant swelling or redness, and fever are not signs of Sever disease and therefore require further evaluation could result in failure to
diagnose a condition with much more serious long-term consequences.
Low-grade inflammation of the calcaneal apophysis cannot be seen on x-ray. Therefore, although x-rays are often done to rule out bony injuries in children with Sever's disease these x-rays are
usually normal. Advanced Sever's disease can be seen on x-ray but usually the problem is treated before it reaches this point. Other diagnostic tests, such as bone scans or MRI's, are not usually
required in typical cases of Sever's disease. These, or other tests, may be required to rule out other conditions, such as stress fractures of the calcaneus or other bony abnormalities that can mimic
Non Surgical Treatment
Initially, Sever?s Disease is treated with rest, anti-inflammatory medication and softer shoes. Ice followed by heat is a common practice and heel cup orthotics have worked wonders for our young
patients in the past. It can take anywhere from a few weeks to a year for these growth plates to naturally close - at which point Sever?s Disease disappears. Even though the condition does heal on
its own, athletes are encouraged to seek treatment, rather than push through the pain. Simply ?dealing with it? and continuing to play sports despite the injury could lead to an impaired gait, a
strained hip or a knee injury. Stretches to strengthen the leg muscles, leg compression wraps and over-the-counter acetaminophen or ibuprofen are also recommended treatments. In very rare cases, a
podiatrist may recommend wearing a cast for two to twelve weeks.
Once your child?s growth spurt ends, and she's reached full size, her Sever?s disease won?t return. Until then, the condition can happen again if your child stays very active. Some simple steps can
help prevent it. Have your child. Wear supportive, shock-absorbing shoes. Stretch her calves, heels, and hamstrings. Not overdo it. Warn against over-training, and suggest plenty of rest, especially
if she begins to feel pain in her heel. Try to avoid lots of running and pounding on hard surfaces. If she?s overweight, help her lose those extra pounds, which can increase pressure on her heels.