A common cause of heel pain in growing adolescents, particularly those that are actively participating in sport is a condition known as Severs disease. While the suggestion of a ?disease? to your
child may conjure up images of a life threatening disorder crippling your child, Severs disease is not nearly so sinister and can be easily fixed.
Young athletes typically sustain the injury due to repeated stress caused by running and jumping. Partaking in any high speed sports can thus partly provoke the condition, such as football, rugby,
basketball, hockey or track athletics. Crucially the injury is linked to overuse, so exercising with fatigued leg muscles, without a suitable warm up, or beginning a new strenuous physical activity
are all risk factors. Placing excessive weight or pressure on the heel can also cause the injury. Another factor related to Sever's disease is overpronation, a biomechanical error that makes the foot
roll too far inwards.
On examination, the typical signs are tenderness on palpation of the heel, particularly on deep palpation at the Achilles tendon insertion. Pain on dorsiflexion of the ankle, particularly when doing
active toe raises; forced dorsiflexion of the ankle is also uncomfortable. Swelling of the heel, usually mild. Calcaneal enlargement, in long-standing cases.
A Podiatrist can easily evaluate your child?s feet, to identify if a problem exists. Through testing the muscular flexibility. If there is a problem, a treatment plan can be create to address the
issue. At the initial treatment to control movement or to support the area we may use temporary padding and strapping and depending on how successful the treatment is, a long-term treatment plan will
be arranged. This long-term treatment plan may or may not involve heel raises, foot supports, muscle strengthening and or stretching.
Non Surgical Treatment
Rest is best to allow healing .Only do as much exercise as able without causing pain. Many children can continue to play sports but if pain is severe then stopping the activity may be the only way to
allow the pain to settle. The child might be able to do things that do not put pressure on the heel, such as swimming and cycling. Ice and cold therapy may be useful to reduce pain and swelling,
particularly following activity or sport. The area should be iced until it feels cold not ?frozen?. Never apply ice directly onto the skin, as this may cause tissue damage. Medication. The following
will help treat your child?s pain. Paracetamol (see bottle for instructions) Ibuprofen (see bottle for instructions). Exercises, perform foot and leg exercises to stretch and strengthen the leg
muscles & tendons. Increase calf flexibility by doing calf stretches several times per day. Protect the heel, your shoes might need a heel lift or arch support. Select a shoe with good arch
support and heel lift if possible. Take it one step at a time: gradually resume running and impact activities as symptoms allow.