Does your child or adolescent complain of pain in their heels after gym class or a game of soccer or basketball? He or she could have a condition known as Sever’s Disease. This is a common ailment, especially during times of rapid growth, but you shouldn’t just ignore it as “growing pains.” If you notice your child limping after exercise, or if they tell you they have sore heels, schedule an evaluation at The Plateau Foot & Ankle Clinic.
How This Injury Occurs
Sever’s Disease will usually occur during a growth spurt, which most girls have between the ages of 8 and 13, and most boys experience between 10 and 15. During this time, the heel bone grows more quickly than the ligaments of the leg, and the tendons and muscles stretch and become too tight. The constant pull of the Achilles tendon on the growth plate of the heel can cause damage to the plate and result in inflammation and tenderness in the lower heel. Adolescents who spend a lot of time playing sports or running and jumping will be more susceptible to this injury. Sports that require the use of cleats may also increase the risk of injuring the heel.
Symptoms include difficulty walking, pain in the heel after running, or discomfort and stiffness when your child first gets out of bed in the morning. The heel may also look red and swollen. These symptoms may go away when your child rests, and get worse again after being active. If they persist longer than a couple of days, it would be best to give Dr. Howard Schaengold a call and have the foot checked to rule out other possibilities such as a torn ligament or a fracture.
The first mode of treatment is to have your child rest from the activity that is causing the trauma. Your child may not want to take a break from gymnastics or soccer, but healing time is critical in order to prevent further complications in the future. You can try wrapping ice in a towel and applying it to the affected heel a few times a day to relieve pain and reduce any swelling. Dr. Schaengold may recommend stretching exercises to make the ligaments and muscles stronger and more limber. He may also fit your child with heel cups for the shoes, or prescribe medication if the pain is severe. Custom orthotics are frequently necessary to address the biomechanical causes of the condition. Surgery is not usually required. Fortunately, as your child reaches the later teens, the heel bone reaches its full growth and hardens, and the condition becomes less common.
The experts at The Plateau Foot & Ankle Clinic want to help your son or daughter have healthy feet during all stages of growth. If you suspect your child has Sever’s Disease, call the office in Sammamish, WA at (425) 868-3338. For the best care in the Bellevue, Redmond or Issaquah area, call today or request an appointment online. Your child’s feet deserve great care!