Sever’s disease is known to be the most common form of heel pain that is experienced by children and adolescents. As the bones grow in the leg and foot, an extra tension is put on the tendons and ligaments which can further cause trauma to the growth plate in the heel bone.
Generally, Sever’s Disease affects children aged between 10-12 years and is most common in males.
How is Sever’s disease diagnosed?
There are a number of techniques that a podiatrist can do to diagnose Sever’s disease. To begin with, a baseline assessment of the legs and feet should be conducted to identify any abnormalities such as tight muscle groups or flat feet.
This baseline assessment should also include an inspection of the patient walking. Identifying any underlying problems or abnormalities is important so that the correct treatment can be used.
A footwear assessment is another important factor when diagnosing Sever’s disease unsupportive, or worn out shoes may be further contributing to the symptoms.
Will Sever’s disease resolve?
Sever’s disease is classified as a self-limiting condition which means that with time the condition will generally go away on its own. Return to normal activity is usually possible after approximately two to three months however this does vary.
Treatments such as those mentioned above should not only reduce the healing time but improve the quality of life of the child by reducing pain levels and increasing functionality.
Recurrence of Sever’s disease is rare however long term management strategies such as orthotics may be necessary in patients with certain foot types to prevent the development of other pathologies later in life.
What are the signs & symptoms of Sever’s Disease?
- Pain when squeezing the heel bone
- Pain is worse when standing or wearing closed shoes
- Tight calf muscles
- Tenderness along the Achilles tendon
- Decreased movement at the ankle joint
- Symptoms often worsen at the beginning of a sport’s season
- Symptoms worsen during a growth spurt
- Heel pain during physical activity
How is Sever’s disease managed?
- Rest from activities that increase the pain
- Ice should be applied for 20 minutes every hour to assist in decreasing the pain and swelling
- Anti-inflammatory medications and topical creams are also useful in reducing the swelling and pain in the short term
- Strapping tape can be used to improve the alignment of the foot and ankle
- A heel raise placed in the child’s shoes can be useful in reducing symptoms
- Stretching exercises of the calf muscles are almost always essential
- Good, supportive footwear should be worn especially when playing sport
- Orthotics may be necessary for patients with underlying problems such as flat feet