At Texas Foot Specialists, we know that many of our younger patients are already engaged in intense practice sessions and games as the fall sports season gets into full swing. Sometimes it’s hard to see the forest for the trees, but parents and athletes need to be aware that growing bones and muscles have to be protected from overuse disorders. One of these is Sever’s Disease.
A Big Pain in the Heel
Sever’s disease (also called calcaneal apophysitis) is not really a disease. It’s actually an inflammation of the growth plate of the heel. It affects children between the ages of about 8 to 14—the years when the heel bone is in the process of developing. Where the new bone is forming at the back of the heel leaves a vulnerable spot that can become irritated if there is too much repetitive stress placed on the heel. Athletes participating in sports where there is running and jumping such as soccer, track and basketball are particularly at risk.
The condition can be extremely painful, even to the point where it is difficult for the youth to walk. Symptoms include:
- Pain in the bottom or back of the heel, sometimes excruciating
- A feeling of tiredness in the foot
- Walking on tip toes
- Difficulty running, walking and participating in usual sports and activities
What Can Be Done
Our podiatrists, Dr. Gregory Mangum and Dr. Bruce Miller, will want to start by doing a complete podiatric examination on your child. The foot doctor will get a complete medical history and ask about the kinds of sports and activities your child does. X-rays and other imaging studies and other laboratory tests may be ordered to confirm a diagnosis of calcaneal apophysitis while ruling out other conditions.
The first step in bringing relief is to rest the heel from any activities that irritate it. Depending on the severity of the condition, the foot doctor may prescribe physical therapy or an orthotic device to be worn in your child’s shoes.