Growing pains are a reality for children and if they love their sports, repetitive activity can affect one or both of their heels and cause quite a bit of pain. Children between the ages of 7-14 years who are active and play regular sports but experience heel pain afterward, may have Severs Disease.
Severs disease is not actually a disease, it’s a condition related to growing pain in feet. It’s a common complaint in children after repetitive stress on the heel bone. It’s important to treat Severs Disease and alleviate the pressure on the heel so that your kids can continue their much loved activities without further pain or long term damage to the heel.
In the article below, we talk about symptoms to look out for and what you can do at home to reduce the impact.
What causes Severs Disease?
When children are growing, the bones, muscles and tendons grow at different rates. The Achilles tendon joins the calf muscle to the heel bone (calcaneus). Pain occurs when this area of attachment is still growing, where cartilage is changing to bone. Growth is a natural process but if there is physical stress in this area, it causes inflammation and pain, called Severs Disease (or Calcaneal Apophysitis).
It is typically present in active children and especially at times of significant growth in height where the leg bones become effectively too long for the muscles.
Boys are more likely to get Severs Disease than girls and an increased body weight in a short space of time can also cause heel strain.
Symptoms of Severs Disease
There are a few symptoms to look out for in your kids if you’re wondering whether they may have Severs Disease.
- Limping or walking on tiptoes
- Pain especially after physical activity or exercise
- Pain in the heel itself when touched
- Swelling and tenderness in the heel
The good news is that the symptoms of Severs Disease will usually ease within a few weeks with some added support to the heel, and if necessary, stopping activity for a short time. By being aware of how the problem is caused, you can help your kids get back to their physical activities sooner than later.
Self-help at home – what you can do to relieve the pain of a Severs Disease
The main thing to help alleviate the pain of Severs Disease is to take pressure off the heel. Here are some suggestions to help:
- Wear well-fitting shoes that are supportive of the heel
- Place an ice pack on the heel when pain is present to reduce inflammation
- Stretch before and after activity to warm up the muscles and tendons
- Place shoe inserts or heel cups to provide more support to the heel
- Avoid wearing high heeled shoes
- Practise exercises at home that we can recommend to help stretch and strengthen the foot and heel.
See a podiatrist at our family-friendly podiatry clinics
We look after feet for all members of the family, from young children to the elderly. If your child is complaining of heel pain, we recommend bringing them into one of our podiatry clinics to have their feet looked at.
We’ll assess and advise on things such as the exercise load, muscle tension in the foot, and how footwear can alleviate heel pain so that your kids can continue their much-loved sports and activities.
Give us a call to make an appointment at one of our family friendly podiatry clinics located at: