Your Child and Sever’s Disease
Has your child recently been complaining about walking or experienced redness and swelling of their heel? A common heel injury among children is calcaneal apophystis, more commonly known as Sever’s disease. It sounds scary, but fret not; it is only temporary and comes with no long-term effects.
So What is Sever’s Disease?
Sever’s disease is an inflammation of the growth plate in the heel of the foot, which often occurs in active children. As children grow prior to and into puberty, the growth plate changes from cartilage cells into bone cells. If the cartilage cells develop into bone cells faster than the child’s growth of leg muscles and tendons, it will put stress on the heel. Sever’s disease is the result of this condition.
How it is Sever’s Disease Caused?
The following conditions can also contribute to the development of Sever’s disease:
- Obesity- More weight than deemed healthy can add extra pressure to the growth plate.
- Pronated Foot- A pronated foot, or a foot that rolls in at the ankle when walking, can cause increased stress on leg tendons, which results in more pull on the growth plate.
- Flat/High Arch in the Foot- This can affect the angle of the heel of the foot, which can cause tightness.
- Short Leg Syndrome- When one leg is shorter than the other, this can cause the foot on the short leg to bend downward. This pulls on the tendons of that leg and causes stress and tightness.
How Can I Tell if My Child Has Sever’s Disease?
Here are the most common symptoms of Sever’s disease:
- Difficulty walking
- Swelling and/or redness of the heel
- Stiffness of the foot when waking up in the morning
- Walking abnormally
- Discomfort when the heel is squeezed on both sides
Only your podiatrist can make a true diagnosis of Sever’s disease, so it’s best that if you suspect your child is suffering from Sever’s disease, go ahead and make an appointment with your podiatrist for a comprehensive assessment.
How Is Sever’s Disease Treated?
To immediately treat your child’s pain, an over-the-counter pain medication with acetaminophen, such as Tylenol, is recommended. Symptoms often worsen with physical activity, so you may recommend your child sit out during recess and other physical activities that may cause pain or discomfort.
Your podiatrist may also recommend:
- Your child engage in foot and leg exercises that will stretch and lengthen the affected muscles.
- Use a sports wrap to compress the heel. This should decrease pain and swelling.
- Elevate the foot and apply an ice-wrapped towel to the heel. Doing this for 20 minutes, two times daily will help reduce any
In some severe cases, your podiatrist may recommend the use of a cast to immobilize the foot until the growth plate stabilizes.
The best treatment for any condition is prevention. As you cannot totally predict your child may end up with Server’s disease, you can do the following to help curb its development:
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Buy supportive shoes.
- Avoid any activity beyond your child’s comfort tor ability.
- Limit the wear of cleated shoes.
To make an appointment with one of the podiatrists at Triad Foot Center to have your child’s feet evaluated, please call 336-375-6990 or click here to request an appointment.
Disclaimer: The information and other content provided in our blogs, videos, or in any other content or linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For a full disclaimer, please click here.