What is it?
Sever’s disease is basically an injury of the bone in which the cord of the heel becomes inflamed thereby leading to pain. This disease is known to commonly affect young children mostly those children who are very much active physically. This disease is also known as Calcaneal apophysitis. This condition is known to be very much similar to Osgood-Schlatter medical condition, which is a condition that tends to affect the bones present in the knee.
This disease is mostly caused due to a mismatch in the development of the bone, calf muscles as well as the Achilles tendon. In case of a growth spurt, the heels of the child would start to grow faster than its tendons, ligaments or muscles of the leg. It is said that the heels are known to be the child’s first part of the body which reaches its complete adult size quickly.
But the muscles and the tendons do not grow faster to keep up with the heels hence they get stretched too much tight. When the child is active, mostly when the child is involved in any kind of sports activity that involves a lot of running or jumping around on the hard surfaces then it can lead to extra strain on those already overstretched tendons thereby leading to swelling as well as pain at that point where the tendons get attached to the growing part of the heel.
The various symptoms an individual would experience are pain in the heels, swelling, stiffness in the calf muscles, limping, tenderness, there is a tendency to tiptoe and the pain would worsen post an exercise. There can feeling of tightness, or tenderness at the back of the heel which may feel worse when that particular area is squeezed. The individual may find it difficult to walk around.
There would be heel pain which may get worse post running or jumping around and would start to feel better when the individual rests. During the beginning of the sports this pain may feel bad. It can also feel worsen while wearing a hard or stiff shoes such as those soccer cleats.
Who is at risk?
There are various risk factors that can contribute to this disease are carrying out physical activity, overuse of an injury and other external factors. This disease is commonly seen in boys since they tend to mostly have later growth spurts. They get this condition typically between the age of ten to fifteen years. In case of girls, this disease is known to occur mostly between the age of 8 to 13 years.
The doctor would be able to diagnose the disease by firstly carrying out a physical examination, the symptoms would be assessed by carrying various tests or scans such as X-Ray so as to rule out the possibility of any other medical condition.
The doctor would thoroughly examine the heels of the child and ask about the activity level of the child or whether he or she participates in any sports activity. They may also carry out the squeeze test wherein they would squeeze the behind portion of the heel from both the sides at the same time for checking if by squeezing it is leading to any kind of pain.
This disease can be treated effectively by using cold packs, shoe inserts, pain relief medication, splinting or using casting or correction of any kind of biomechanical issues. This disease cannot be termed as serious since it is mostly self-limiting and would rarely lead to any kind of long-term issues.
Carrying out stretching or strengthening exercises would also help but it should be carried out under the guidance of a physical therapist to avoid any other kind of pain. The doctor can recommend to carry out ice packs or use NSAIDs for example ibuprofen or naproxen for getting relief from pain. In case if the condition turns out to be severe then the child would need to be on cast or the heel would be forced to take rest.
Any other related conditions:
Few of the other possible causes of pain in the heels can be attributed to plantar fascilitis, achillies tendonitis, bursitis and stress fracture.
Those who suffer from sever’s disease can take help from a physiotherapist, orthopaedist or a podiatrist for treating it.