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Palm Beach Podiatry

Sever’s Disease – Understanding Your Child’s Heel Pain

A completely natural part of being a parent is that you don’t want your children to suffer. You know that they are going to experience pain and hurt, but if you can do something about it, you will. Sever’s disease is a condition that can cause heel pain for your adolescent son or daughter, especially if he or she tends to be active. Fortunately, we can help you relieve your child’s discomfort.

What Is Sever’s Disease?

Children's Heel PainIf your son or daughter complains about pain in the heel, especially in the bottom or back areas, or you notice a limp has developed, this could be the reason. It isn’t actually a “disease,” but simply a condition stemming from the timing of a child’s foot and lower leg development.

Usually observed in children between the ages of 8 and 15 years old, it is a literal embodiment of the term “growing pains.” It happens during this particular age range because the body undergoes a growth spurt which impacts your child’s feet.

The heel has a growth plate that causes tension and stress on the Achilles tendon as it grows. At this particular time in physical development, the tendon hasn’t grown completely. Given that the Achilles attaches to the heel bone, this creates the tension and consequent pain and discomfort for your child.

Symptoms like heel pain, limping, and withdrawal from sports can also be indicative of other medical issues; therefore it is important to bring your child in for an appointment with our office so we can provide an accurate diagnosis. We want to make sure that the right issue is being addressed.

Is There Treatment for Sever’s Disease?

This condition may take up to a couple of years to resolve, but will typically go away on its own when your child’s bones stop growing. Until it does, treatment is centered on reducing the pain and discomfort for your child. Surgery is not necessary and treatment is conservative in nature. Specific care includes:

  • Reduction in activity. Because high-impact sports and activity can aggravate the condition by placing excess force on the affected heel, we advise limiting time in such activities. Staying physically active is consistently proven to be important for the human body, though, so consider having your son or daughter perform low-impact activities like bicycling, swimming, or even yoga to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

  • Physical therapy. We did just advise reducing activity, but strengthening and stretching leg muscles and tendons will assist in healing the inflamed tissue that causes your child’s pain. Our professionals will recommend proper exercises and techniques that will prove to be quite helpful.

  • Ice therapy. Reduce the swelling and pain in your son or daughter’s heel by using ice—wrapped in a thin towel to avoid direct skin contact—a couple of times during the day. We can provide guidance with regard to frequency and duration of icing sessions.

  • Medications. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can also reduce any inflammation and pain in the affected heel. Be sure to consult with our office so we can help you identify medication and dosages that will be safe and effective for your child.

  • Heel support. Our office can provide custom orthotic devices to provide ample support for your son or daughter’s heel. Going hand-in-hand with support, we may recommend immobilization for severe cases of Sever’s disease. This can be accomplished by using a cast to keep the lower leg stable and allow it to heal properly.

Where Can I Get Help for My Child’s Heel Pain?

Your first step in getting your child the pain relief he or she needs is to contact Palm Beach Podiatry so we can evaluate the situation and provide an accurate diagnosis. At that point, we will create an effective treatment plan so your child can experience the pain relief he or she needs. Our offices are located in Boynton Beach, Fort Pierce, and Loxahatchee, FL and you can call us at (561) 734-3100 or fill out our easy online form to request an appointment today.

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