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Sever’s Disease

 

What is it?

 

Sever’s disease is a common overuse injury in children between the ages of 8 and 14, that presents as a gradual onset of pain the heel.  It is especially common in children that are active in sport and is more common in boys than girls.

 

What are the symptoms?

 

A gradual onset of pain in one, or both heels.  The pain is made worse with activities, especially running or jumping.  The pain is relieved with rest.

 

What causes it?

 

As a child grows, the muscles in the back of the legs (the calfs and the hamstrings) stretch and tighten in response to growth spurts.  The stretching of these muscles pulls on the area of growing bone at the back of the heel (growth plate) which causes the symptoms of Sever’s disease.

 

What to do at home

 

Limiting activities that aggravate the symptoms, ice the painful area several times per day, wearing soft gel heel cups and stretching of the calf muscles and hamstrings.  Avoid wearing very flat shoes (such as ballet pumps) and wear cushioned, supportive shoes such as trainers.

 

When to seek help

 

If the pain doesn’t settle within 2 weeks of home treatment.

 

How is it treated?

 

Sometimes special insoles (orthoses) are used to treat any underlying biomechanical problems.  In severe cases either resting completely from the activities that aggravate the pain or a short period of immobilisation is required.

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