You notice that your son who always loved playing basketball suddenly isn’t interested anymore. He appears to be limping slightly and finally tells you that his heel hurts. These could be signs of an ailment that strikes children ages 8 to about 15 called Sever’s Disease.
Sever’s Disease is not actually a disease. Also known as calcaneal apophysitis, Sever’s Disease in an inflammation of the heel that occurs when the growth plate at the back of heel, which is not fully finish forming until the middle of the teen years and is still producing new bone becomes irritated and inflamed. It is the most frequent cause of heel pain in children in teens that we see at Paul S. DeMarco, DPM. It can happen to boys or girls and can show up in one or both heels.
Diagnosing Heel Pain
Our podiatrist, Dr. Paul S. DeMarco will examine your child’s foot and take a complete medical history. The foot doctor will have questions about your child’s sports activities too. X-rays and other imaging studies and tests may also be ordered to eliminate other conditions that could be affecting the heel.
Although activities that put excessive and repeated pressure or pounding on the heel is the number one cause of Sever’s Disease, there are other possible causes that the foot doctor will be checking for. These include an overly tight Achilles tendon and mechanical or structural problems within the foot such as very high arches or flatfeet. Sometimes the cleats a child is using can also be an aggravating factor.
Getting Relief for the Pain
There are a number of non-surgical treatment options for Sever’s Disease, including:
· Stopping any activities that hurt the heel; in extreme cases, immobilization with a cast may be necessary
· Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen
· Custom orthotics or inserts for shoes to support the heel
· Physical therapy
As a parent, you can help prevent Sever’s Disease in your child by not allowing them to overdo activities that pound the heel and foot. Make sure that they wear the appropriate shoes for their sport and help them maintain a healthy weight. Don’t ignore a child’s complaint of pain in the foot. Get it evaluated at our Somers Point office by calling: (609) 927-4894 and be safe, not sorry.