How to Help a Child Who Is Suffering Symptoms of Sever’s Disease

As a parent, you know that there is no way to guarantee that your children won’t suffer injuries. Accidents will happen, and you try your best to protect your kids—so when one of them decides to join a school sport, you’re torn between supporting him and worrying about his safety. But what if the injury he suffers isn’t a broken leg, but a constant pain that doesn’t seem to be getting better?

Sever's disease in childrenWho Is at Risk of Developing Sever’s Disease?

Teenagers who are going through the early stages of puberty are at risk of many types of growing pains. As your child’s body changes, he or she may experience soreness in the feet and heels, known as Sever’s disease (calcaneal apophysitis). This condition occurs because the heel bone is growing faster than the muscles and tendons surrounding it, straining the surrounding tissues, causing swelling, tenderness, and extreme pain in the back of the heel.

Your child may be at risk of developing Sever’s disease if he or she…

  • Is under 14 years old. Children who are going through growth spurts are especially likely to develop Sever’s disease. For girls, the condition is most likely to occur between 8 to 10 years of age, while boys are most at risk between 10 to 12 years of age.
  • Has increased activity. Sever’s disease usually begins when a child becomes more active, such as starting a new sport or walking increased distances each day. Children whose activities involve jumping and running (such as soccer, basketball, and gymnastics) are more likely to suffer Sever’s disease due to overuse of their Achilles tendon, the long tendon along the back of the heel.
  • Does not stretch properly. It is important for everyone to stretch before and after physical activity, and children are no exception. Stretching the hamstring, calf muscles, and Achilles tendons can not only prevent Sever’s disease, but can also relieve symptoms and aid recovery. It is important that your child stretches regularly during practice and at home, and to stretch both legs (even if there is only pain in one).

How Long Will My Child Suffer From Heel Pain?

The effects of Sever’s disease will depend on the extent of the condition. In many cases, children will recover in a few weeks—however, it is vital that your child rests his foot in order to recover fully. If he attempts to rush through recovery and play on an injured foot, he will only aggravate the condition and undo any progress the injury has made.

At Sierra Foot & Ankle, we can help determine the cause of your child’s heel injury and devise a treatment to get him back on his feet as quickly as possible. If you are a new patient who is experiencing pain, our podiatrist Victoria Melhuish will make every effort to see you at our office in Carson City or Gardnerville as soon as possible. Call us today at 888-608-8406 or fill out our quick appointment request form to have our staff contact you.

Photo Credit: Daniel St.Pierre via