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Sever's Disease: You'll Grow Out of It!

 
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When a child has Sever’s disease, he or she might notice heel pain in one or both heels. It usually flares up after the child begins a new sports season or a new sport. You may notice that your child walks with a limp or even has a tendency to tip toe. I noticed that in our daily afternoon runs, my son would occasionally run on his toes. Your child may have pain when you squeeze both sides of his heel towards the very back of it. This is referred to as the squeeze test. In addition, your child’s tendons may be tighter than normal.

To treat this condition, your child should reduce or stop any activity that may have caused the pain. An ice pack to the injured heel for 20 minutes, three times a day can help. Your doctor may recommend orthotics, arch supports, or heel cups. Do not let your child go barefoot. We opted to get over-the-counter orthotics for my son, which have seemed to help, although, at this point, he cannot wait to turn 15, as that is when the doctor indicated this problem should go away.

The podiatrist also suggested that my son engage in some daily stretching exercises that allow the hamstring and the calf muscles to be stretched, as well as the tendons on the back of the leg. Done up to three times a day, the stretches should be held for about 20 seconds. Both legs should be stretched, even if the pain is in just one heel. The exercises our podiatrist recommended included having my son stand on a step with half of his foot firmly on the step and the back half over the edge of the step. He instructed my son to stretch his feet downward and hold for 20 seconds and then come back up. He also suggested that my son sit on the floor with his legs stretched out in front of him. Using a towel that is wrapped around his foot, he should pull both ends of the towel towards him while stretching the leg muscles and foot away from him.

With proper care and treatment, your child’s pain should diminish within a couple of weeks to a couple of months. Once the pain is gone, your child should be able to return to playing sports. However, do so under the guidance of your doctor.

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Anonymous

I had Sever's disease as a kid (I was a gymnast) and 2 of my sons have had it, both around the ages of 11or 12. It can be inherited, as my kids' pediatrician has told me. I recognized the signs right away when the first of my boys described his symptoms. Both of my sons with Sever's play football and lacrosse. They also wrestle, but didn't experience as much pain with wrestling, as there is not much running involved. They were also told to use ice, do stretching exercises and wear pads in their heels. The pediatrician also recommended taking some Advil about 15-30 minutes prior to practicing or playing their sports, which really seemed to help them. The good news is that one of them was relieved of the pain after 6 months and the other had pain for about one year. They are both pain-free right now and active as ever! By the way, some people are more familiar with the same condition in the knee which is called Osgoodslaughter's disease. My sons were glad their form of it was easier to pronounce!

August 5, 2010 - 7:55pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.