What is it?
Severs disease or calcaneal apophysitis causes heel pain usually in growing children between age nine and fourteen. It occurs as a result of disturbance during the final development of the heel growth plate. During this time the Achilles tendon is pulling strongly on the heel bone and this excessive force can cause inflammation and pain.
What are the symptoms of severs disease?
- Pain in the lower calf and heel area which may be worse when applying pressure either side
- Pain worse on activity especially those involving running or jumping
- In severe cases this may cause the child to limp when walking
- One or both heels affected
What we can do…
Severs disease is typically a self-limiting condition that will eventually resolve as skeletal maturity is reached. Physiotherapy can help relieve the symptoms of severs disease by:
- Providing advice on pain management techniques
- Assessing foot posture and biomechanics
- Biomechanical correction and taping
- Referral to a podiatrist if necessary
- Provision of heel wedges
- Advising on activity modification whilst symptomatic
- Assisting with return to activity
- Exercises to address any tightness, weakness or muscle imbalance
- Advice on appropriate footwear
What you can do…
You can provide reassurance to your child and assist with pain managementt and the keeping of a pain diary. If rest is required you can liase with your child’s teachers and sports coach as necessary .
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