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.