Sever’s Disease is often misdiagnosed as a simple growing pains and affects boys far more often than girls, especially between the ages of 8 and 14.
Sever’s Disease sounds terrible, but there is no need to panic as it is not a contagious or incurable condition. In children, there is a growth plate in the heel bone, which at puberty becomes solid and forms part of the heel, however prior to puberty it can cause pain if the child’s foot rolls inwards or outwards too much, causing increased stress on this growth plate and in turn causes pain.
This heel pain can become quite debilitating and the most obvious signs, for parents and coaches to look for will involve:
- The child limping around after sport
- The Child complaining that their heels or ankles are hurting during training
- The Child is not performing to their normal ability
If the pain continues, the child sometimes cannot play sport at all and just feels like throwing in the towel due to the frustration of not being able to play at their best.
Parents are often told the heel pains are simply growing pains and it will eventually resolve itself without treatment, but this is poor advice, even though technically true. However, why would you let a child go through pain for weeks, months and in some cases years, when it can easily be resolved?
In most cases there is always be an underlying biomechanical foot problem, or muscular tightness, that requires attention. Sever’s Disease does not seem to occur in normal functioning feet.
A Podiatrist can easily evaluate your child’s foot, lower limbs and muscular flexibility, to identify if a problem exists. If a problem is identified, a simple treatment plan is put in place. Initial treatment may involve using temporary padding and strapping to control motion or to cushion the painful area and based on the success of this treatment, a long-term treatment plan will be put in place. This long-term treatment plan may or may not involve Foot Supports, Heel Raises, Muscle stretching and or strengthening.
As a Podiatrist I have had the opportunity of treating dozens of children with Sever’s Disease (heel pain) and nearly all of all them are back playing sport, almost pain free, within days of their treatment. Please don’t listen to people who say they just have to put up with it, it is just not true.