If your child is limping, having difficulty walking, complaining of pain in their heels upon waking up in the morning or experiencing swelling or redness in the heel, it's extremely important that
you pay attention to their symptoms and seek expert medical help as soon as possible. Heel pain in adolescents is frequently a sign of a condition known as Sever's Disease (Calcaneal Apophysitis),
and while this is not a life-threatening condition, it can lead to debilitating symptoms for your child which should be remedied as quickly as possible. This article provides an easy-to-read
introduction to the causes of and treatment options for Sever's Disease. By educating yourself on this important topic, you will be ready to seek the right help for your child so that he or she can
regain their health and be free of pain again.
Sever's disease is a common cause of heel pain in physically active growing kids. It usually occurs during the growth spurt of adolescence, the approximately 2-year period in early puberty when kids
grow most rapidly. This growth spurt can begin anytime between the ages of 8 to 13 for girls and 10 to 15 for boys. Peak incidences are girls, 8 to 10 years old. boys, 10 to 12 years old.
The most obvious sign of Sever's disease is pain or tenderness in one or both heels, usually at the back. The pain also might extend to the sides and bottom of the heel, ending near the arch of the
foot. A child also may have these related problems, swelling and redness in the heel, difficulty walking, discomfort or stiffness in the feet upon awaking, discomfort when the heel is squeezed on
both sides, an unusual walk, such as walking with a limp or on tiptoes to avoid putting pressure on the heel. Symptoms are usually worse during or after activity and get better with rest.
Sever's disease is based on the symptoms reported. To confirm the diagnosis, the clinician will examine the heels and ask about the child's activity level and participation in sports. They may also
squeeze the back part of the heel from both sides at the same time to see if doing so causes pain and also ask the child to stand on tiptoes to see if that position causes pain. There may be
tightness in the calf muscle, which contributes to tension on the heel. Symptoms are usually worse during or after activity and get better with rest. X-rays generally are not that helpful in
diagnosing Sever's disease, but they may be ordered to rule out other problems, such as fractures. Sever's disease cannot be seen on an X-ray.
Non Surgical Treatment
Treatment of Sever's disease will depend upon the severity of the condition. Parents can assist with the treatment of Sever's disease by making sure their children reduce physical activity until some
of the pain subsides. Losing weight can also help reduce pressure on the heel. It is important to consult a doctor if the pain persists. A physician may recommend flexibility exercises, custom shoe
inserts, or anti-inflammatory medication. In some cases, a splint or cast may be necessary to immobilize the foot and give it a chance to heal. Most cases of Sever's disease will resolve by the age
of 16, when growing subsides. Fortunately, there are no known long-term complications associated with the disease.