Growing Pains – Sever’s Disease

Don’t worry – despite the name, Sever’s is not actually a disease, but a painful condition that affects active and growing kids, usually between the ages of 8 and 15 years old. You may know this condition as growing pains that affect the back of the heels.

What causes Sever’s?

To explain how Sever’s is caused, we must first explain that while bones are growing, they have areas called ‘growth plates’ at the bone ends. This is where new bone is added so that our bones grow bigger. When we reach full maturity and stop growing, these growth plates turn to solid bone. While they’re present, however, growth plates are more vulnerable to damage than the surrounding bone.

Sever’s is caused by an irritated growth plate at the back of the heel. Often, this is due to a tight or overused achilles tendon that repeatedly pulls on the back of the heel. It may also occur from impact to the heel bone itself, like from running on hard surfaces. The cause of a tight or tense achilles tendon in kids includes:

A faster rate of bone growth than muscle growth, resulting in a shorter achilles tendon

Increasing the intensity of physical activities that repetitively pull on the heel

Running sports

Soccer boots and low-heeled shoes

What are the symptoms of Sever’s?

Symptoms typically occur during a period of growth in kids, and can include:

Pain at the back of the heel that can be sharp or aching

Pain during or after sport or physical activity, especially running

Calf tightness

Pain that is reduced with rest and ice, but comes back with activity

Small child completing foot exercises

How is Sever’s disease treated?

The key to treating Sever’s includes:

Relieving the painful symptoms

Treating the cause and reducing the tension on the heel bone

Helping prevent the pain from returning in the future

At Cartwright Podiatry, we perform children’s biomechanical assessments to understand exactly what is happening and causing their heel pain. We then create a tailored treatment plan, which may include:

Orthotics – to help reduce the tension on the back of the heel while your kids walk and play

Stretching – to help loosen tight muscles such as the achilles tendon to reduce its pull on the heel, as well as help prevent the symptoms from recurring as the child continues to grow

Strengthening – to help improve the foot and leg function by strengthening the muscles

Footwear Assessment – to ensure the footwear is not aggravating the heel pain

Activity modification – to prevent the onset of painful symptoms throughout the treatment

Education – about how to best manage the pain once it has started

Does your child need help staying active,
pain-free and happy on their feet?

Book online or get in touch
with us today

Does your child need help staying active, pain-free and happy
on their feet?

Book online or get in touch with us today