CAUSES AND TREATMENT OF SEVER'S DISEASE
posted: Jul 20, 2018.
What is Sever's disease?
Such stress commonly results from physical activities and sports that involve running and jumping, especially those that take place on hard surfaces, such as track, basketball, soccer, and gymnastics.
Sever's disease also can result from standing too long, which puts constant pressure on the heel. Poor-fitting shoes can contribute to the condition by not providing enough support or padding for the feet or by rubbing against the back of the heel.
Signs and Symptoms
The most obvious sign of Sever's disease is pain or tenderness in one or both heels, usually at the back. The pain also might extend to the sides and bottom of the heel, ending near the arch of the foot.
A child also may have these related problems:
- swelling and redness in the heel
- difficulty walking
- discomfort or stiffness in the feet upon awaking
- discomfort when the heel is squeezed on both sides
- an unusual walk, such as walking with a limp or on tiptoes to avoid putting pressure on the heel
Symptoms are usually worse during or after activity and get better with rest.
The immediate goal of treatment is pain relief. Because symptoms generally worsen with activity, the main treatment for Sever's disease is rest, which helps to relieve pressure on the heel bone, decreasing swelling and reducing pain.
The chiropodist might also recommend that a child with Sever's disease:
- perform foot and leg exercises to stretch and strengthen the leg muscles and tendons
- elevate and apply ice (wrapped in a towel, not applied directly to the skin) to the injured heel for 20 minutes two or three times per day, even on days when the pain is not that bad, to help reduce swelling
- use an elastic wrap or compression stocking that is designed to help decrease pain and swelling
As directed by the chiropodist, a child should cut down on or avoid all activities that cause pain until all symptoms are gone, especially running barefoot or on hard surfaces because hard impact on the feet can worsen pain and inflammation. The child might be able to do things that do not put pressure on the heel, such as swimming and biking, but check with a doctor first.
Brought to you by Doctor John A. Hardy, owner of Toronto's foot clinic, Academy Foot and Orthotics Clinic.