02/27/2020 by Dr. Goldi Jacques-Maynes
Teens, Tweens and Foot Pain: Is It Sever's Disease?
As a mother of two VERY active teenagers, I know about those “growing pains” and sports-related injuries. As parents, we can prioritize helping our kids prevent injuries as a form of self-care. What we can’t do is speed up the natural development of their biomechanics. This is why growing teens are especially susceptible to Sever’s disease.
What is Sever’s disease?
Sever’s disease is often mistaken for plantar fasciitis, but it’s actually a different foot condition. Sever’s disease (Calcaneal Apophysitis) is painful inflammation of the heel’s growth plate. It often affects kids between the ages of 8 and 14. These are the years before the heel bone is fully developed. Before the growth plate fuses, new bone is forming, creating a weak point at the back of the heel.
What causes Sever’s disease?
Repetitive stress, especially in younger athletes, can cause irritation and chronic inflammation. Obesity, tight Achilles tendons, tight calves, and feet abnormalities can also cause Sever’s disease.
What are the symptoms of Sever’s disease?
The following symptoms can indicate Sever's disease:
- Pain in the bottom or back of the heel
- Pain with walking, running, or other physical activity
- Pain with compression of the heel on both sides
How do chiropractors diagnose Sever’s disease?
We'll ask questions about your child’s symptoms. We'll also conduct a physical examination. We may refer you for an x-ray or MRI just to be sure.
How do chiropractors treat Sever’s disease?
If we diagnose a patient with Sever’s disease, we may —
- Adjust your child’s spine and lower extremity to address any spinal misalignments that may lead to poor biomechanics
- Prescribe reduced or modified physical activity
- Suggest heel support with gel inserts
- Teach you how to properly use RockTape
- Prescribe mobility and stability exercises to reduce tension and strengthen muscles
- Suggest immobilization for severe cases
How can I help my child treat Sever’s disease at home?
- We can teach your child to strengthen their lower body and foot muscles
- Your child may need to lose weight. We can advise you on coming up with a weight loss plan that works best for your family
- Since Sever’s disease is most common in single-sport athletes, we may advise adding other forms of physical activity
- Rest. Eat healthy food. Encourage your child to take the time to heal!
If your child is experiencing foot or heel pain, make an online appointment. We'll be happy to help you get an accurate diagnosis and develop a non-invasive treatment plan to get your child back on their feet.