Hearing the news that your child has any sort of disease is always scary for a parent. Podiatric conditions are no exception, as the use of our feet is an essential part of our everyday life. If your child has been complaining about pain and is diagnosed with Sever's disease, you'll be relieved to discover that it is a treatable injury, not an actual disease.
What Is Sever's Disease?
Despite its intimidating name, Sever's disease is a common injury that develops in adolescence when a child experiences a large growth spurt. The pain comes when the heel bone grows more rapidly than the surrounding muscles, tendons, and ligaments. These become tight and overstretched, leading to noticeable discomfort. Known medically as calcaneal apophysitis, this painful inflammation is most common in girls aged 7-13 and boys aged 10-15.
Symptoms and Diagnosis of Sever's Disease
The main symptom of Sever's disease is heel pain that increases in intensity during activity. Your child will likely complain of pain in the posterior of the heel. The pain can be very intense and often interferes with the child's ability to run, jump, and participate in sports. For some children, the pain is too debilitating to complete basic daily activities.
Diagnosing Sever's disease is very simple. Typical methods of foot injury detection such as X-rays are typically unhelpful with Sever's. Instead, a podiatrist will simply squeeze the child's heel to see if they have any pain. They will also ask questions about the child's daily routine, especially if they participate in sports, which tends to be a triggering factor for this injury.
Treatment and Recovery
While Sever's disease is always temporary, it can be frustrating and debilitating in the short run. There are two main treatment methods a podiatrist may prescribe to help reduce your child's pain and heal the injury.
Acute Sever's Treatment
The most common form of Sever's disease is acute Sever's, which is the milder of the two possibilities. Treatments are simple, including:
- Elevating the affected foot and applying ice three times a day
- Using over-the-counter pain medications like Tylenol
- Resting the foot as much as possible and refraining from sports and other demanding activities for two to four weeks
Treatment for Chronic Sever's
Sometimes children experience chronic Sever's, which can be more serious and continue even if they aren't physically active. If the treatments listed above do not help, the child's podiatrist may prescribe a custom orthotic. This cast will be specifically molded for your child's foot for a perfect fit and the swiftest recovery possible.
When to Visit the Podiatrist
It might be time to see a podiatrist when your child is complaining of consistent heel pain that is affecting their ability to carry out daily tasks or the active life they usually enjoy. At InStride Carolina Podiatry Group, we regularly see adolescents struggling with this common ailment. Fill out our contact form to get started with simple, effective treatment for your child.