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What is Sever’s Disease?

Sever’s disease is a common heel injury that can affect kids. Though it can sometimes be painful, it is only a temporary condition. Sever’s disease is a bone disorder caused by swelling of the heel’s growth plate. Physically active kids can suffer this injury between the ages of eight to 15.

Causes of Sever’s Disease

During puberty, kids’ heel bone grows faster compared to leg tendons and muscles. This can make the tendons and muscles overstretched and tight, and put pressure on the heel’s growth plate. The Achilles tendon is attached to the growth plate and repeated stress on this tendon can cause tenderness, swelling and Sever’s disease.

This condition is typically caused by jumping and running on hard surfaces while taking part in sports like gymnastics, soccer, basketball and track. Sometimes, standing for long periods or wear ill-fitting shoes can also cause Sever’s disease. People with the following conditions have higher risk of suffering Sever’s disease:

  • Pronated foot
  • Flat or high arch
  • Short leg syndrome
  • Overweight or obesity

Symptoms of Sever’s Disease

  • Redness and swelling in the heel
  • Difficulty while walking
  • Stiffness or discomfort in the heel after getting up in the morning
  • Unusual gait to avoid increasing pressure on the affected heel

Treatment

Pain relief is the immediate goal. The patient is advised to take complete rest to prevent the symptoms from worsening. They can take part in alternate activities like biking or swimming after consulting their doctor. The following treatments are generally recommended:

  • Perform exercises to strengthen and stretch the leg tendons and muscles
  • Elevate the painful heel and ice it
  • Use a compression stocking or an elastic wrap to reduce swelling and pain
  • Take over-the-counter anti-inflammatories and painkillers
  • In severe cases, the patient might need to wear a cast for a few weeks to enable the heel to heal

Recovery after Treatment

Once Sever’s disease is healed, it rarely returns again later on. Physically active kids must wear comfortable shoes with padded soles to reduce pressure on their heels. Open-backed footwear like sandals are also recommended. Foot growth becomes complete after age 15 and Sever’s disease rarely strikes after this age.

Resource: http://kidshealth.org/parent/medical/bones/severs_disease.html#

For more information on Sever’s disease, please watch this video:

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