Has your child complained of heel pain or has difficulty walking? Sometimes a growth spurt causes the heel bone to grow more quickly than nearby muscles and tendons, causing them to stretch too much.
This condition is called Sever’s disease and it’s a cause of real growing pains! Until the tendons and muscles have a chance to catch up to the heel bone growth, your child may be susceptible to:
- Heel pain that diminishes somewhat with rest, but is worse after sports and exercise that include running or jumping
- Not being able to walk on tiptoe
- Tightness or tenderness when squeezing the back of the heel
- Heel swelling
Some sports are more likely to cause Sever’s disease because of excessive jumping and running. These include football, basketball, soccer or gymnastics. Because the soles of cleats are so rigid, they can make the problem worse.
At What Age Does Sever’s Disease Strike?
Because Sever’s disease is tied to growth spurts, it can affect children at different ages. Girls experience growth spurts between ages 8-13 so that is the time when they are at risk of this condition. Boys are more likely to have Sever’s disease later at ages 10-15 when they usually have growth spurts.
Sever’s disease doesn’t last forever – when the growth of your child’s muscles and tendons catch up to the heel bone, there will be no further episodes of this condition.
Don’t Neglect your Child’s Heel Pain
Please call Stavros O. Alexopoulos, DPM if your child is complaining of heel pain or is limping to compensate for the discomfort.
Our first recommendation will be to rest the foot and this means stopping all sports activities. Icing the area and taking anti-inflammatory medications, with your doctor’s permission, will relieve the inflammation and pain.
Other treatments include:
- Gently stretching the area.
- Physical therapy.
- Wearing custom-fitted orthotics or heel cups to redistribute pressure away from the heel.
- Using a walking boot or cast where previous methods have not brought relief.
Your child will be able to return to normal activities – including sports – gradually to avoid reinjuring the area.
To prevent Sever’s disease, make sure your child has well-fitting shoes with lots of cushioning for all sports. Don’t allow over-training and limit running on hard and inflexible surfaces. Minimize heel pressure by helping your child stay at a healthy weight.
Let Us Evaluate your Child’s Heel Pain
If your child suffers from heel pain, please make an evaluation appointment with Dr. Alexopoulos, board certified podiatrist. We will quickly diagnose the problem and discuss all treatment options with you. Call our Chicago office at (773) 561-8100 or request an appointment via the website. Sever’s disease can be managed to stop your child’s heel pain.