Most people can remember what it was like to go through a growth spurt during adolescence—it involved feeling tired, achy, and hungry enough to eat anything in sight. For some children and teens, however, this period may come with severe heel pain, also known as Sever’s disease. Sever’s disease occurs when the growth plate on the heel becomes inflamed, leading to soreness, swelling, and tenderness.
During a growth spurt, it may feel like some body parts are out of sync, as they are growing at different rates. With Sever’s disease, the heel bone is growing faster than the tendons and muscles that attach it to the leg. For this reason, the heel loses flexibility and feels tight. This discomfort is made worse when children wear cleats during football, baseball, or soccer, or run and jump on hard surfaces during track, basketball, or gymnastics. As you might imagine, telling an active child to stay off his or her feet is quite difficult!
Fortunately, Sever’s disease does not cause permanent damage, and treatment involves reducing the inflammation on the heel. This can be done in a few ways:
- Rest! Stay off the injured foot as much as possible.
- Ice! Keep icing the heel to reduce inflammation and pain.
- Compression! Light compression with a bandage will help manage swelling.
- Elevation! Keeping the injured foot slightly elevated will help drain fluid from the area.
- Stretch! Strengthen the lower leg and ankles with some of these simple exercises.
- Support! Consider purchasing heel cushions to insert into your shoes.
If your son or daughter is complaining of intense heel pain during a growth spurt, it might be time to consider making an appointment at Syracuse Podiatry. Board-certified podiatrist Dr. Ryan L. D’Amico has experience treating patients of all ages from all over Central New York. From athlete’s foot, to ingrown toenails, to diabetic wounds, Dr. D’Amico delivers quality and expert care for every condition. Please call our Fayetteville office at (315) 446-3668 or contact us for more information!