Sever’s disease is a relatively common condition experienced by active kids and adolescents. Although it leads to significant pain as it develops, it can be treated by a podiatrist Boynton Beach, without the need for surgery.
Also known by the more formal term, calcaneal apophysitis, Sever’s disease is a unique bone injury that affects the lower back part of the heel. The growth plate in the heel becomes inflamed where it connects with the Achilles tendon. This leads to heel pain, which increases in intensity as the condition progresses. It’s the most likely form of moderate to severe heel pain in children and often develops in those who engage in athletics or sports.
Sever’s disease is unique to children because it affects the growth plate. As children develop into adults, this plate (made from cartilage) is replaced by solid bone. If your child is experiencing frequent heel pain, they may be suffering from inflammation related to Sever’s disease. Your podiatrist Boynton Beach can perform a full examination to identify the underlying cause and proceed with the best treatment that meets the unique needs of your child.
Common Causes of Sever’s Disease
The Achilles tendon is the largest and hardest working tendon in the body. The strong tissue of the tendon connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. When a child is developing, the tendon is connected to a growth plate made from cartilage. This growth plate eventually forms into solid bone, securing the Achilles tendon in place.
Being formed of cartilage, the growth plate is not as strong as tendons or solid bone. With repeated use, the growth plate can suffer from trauma, which causes inflammation.
Sever’s disease develops when there is significant stress placed on the growth plate. High impact activities are the usual cause of stress and trauma. Continued activity causes ongoing pulling of the Achilles tendon at the attachment point on the growth plate, which further irritates the area. Children and adolescents who develop Sever’s disease are likely to find that heel pain starts mild but progresses into moderate or severe pain. This pain should never be ignored. A foot doctor Boynton Beach can examine your child’s heel to understand the cause of the problem.
Common causes of Sever’s disease include:
- A sudden increase in activity. Children and adolescents that take up running, or sports that include jumping and intense bursts of activity could develop Sever’s disease.
- Running often on hard surfaces, especially barefoot.
- Wearing, playing sports, or exercising in footwear that has poor cushioning.
Even with adequate footwear, some children and adolescents will still develop Sever’s disease, particularly if they are highly active in sports or another physical activity.
Symptoms That Indicate It’s Time to Visit Your Foot Doctor Boynton Beach
Symptoms of Sever’s are easy to identify if you know what to look for. Your foot doctor Boynton Beach can confirm the cause of the symptoms. The most common include:
- Tenderness and pain at the back of the heel.
- Pain increases with physical activity and becomes more moderate with rest.
- Pain is worse in the morning and progresses throughout the day with walking and other activity.
The condition and symptoms are more common in boys, but active girls can develop Sever’s disease, too. The condition can occur in one foot or both. Each case is unique, which is why it’s so important to visit a podiatrist Boynton Beach whenever symptoms become apparent.
How is Sever’s Disease Treated by a Boynton Beach Podiatrist?
Before treatment, a podiatrist will diagnose Sever’s by discussing the symptoms, performing a physical examination, and following up with x-ray imaging in most cases. An x-ray is the most accurate way to view deformities and damage in the heel. If an x-ray isn’t conclusive or if other conditions are present, further imaging with an MRI may be necessary at the discretion of your Boynton Beach podiatrist.
Treatment follows the RICE philosophy:
- Rest – Total rest for 24 to 48 hours is recommended in most cases.
- Ice – Ice packs can reduce inflammation and swelling around the ankle, while also treating pain.
- Compression – This helps to limit mobility while treating and preventing swelling.
- Elevation – This improves arterial blood flow and can reduce swelling.
A stretching, strengthening and conditioning routine will be recommended by your foot doctor in Boynton Beach. Active children and teens may need shoe modification, orthopedic inserts, and ongoing physical therapy.
If your child is suffering from pain at the back of the heel, Sever’s disease is a real risk. Contact the Foot, Ankle & Leg Vein Center in Boynton Beach for a complete diagnosis and treatment plan with our friendly staff.