Understanding Sever's Disease: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention


Understanding Sever's Disease: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention

At our office, we understand the unique challenges that young athletes face, including injuries that can hinder their performance and enjoyment of sports. One common ailment that affects active children and adolescents is Sever's disease, a condition that causes heel pain. Let's dive into what Sever's disease is, who it affects, the risk factors associated with it, and effective treatment options.

What is Sever's Disease?

Sever's disease, also known as calcaneal apophysitis, is a common orthopedic condition affecting children and adolescents, especially those who are involved in sports. It occurs when the growth plate in the heel, where the Achilles tendon attaches, becomes inflamed due to repetitive stress and overuse. Typically, it is not an actual "disease" but rather a painful condition related to the growth and development of the heel bone.

Who Does Sever's Disease Affect?

Sever's disease primarily affects active children between the ages of 8 and 15. During this age range, the growth plates are still developing and are more vulnerable to injury. It is more common in athletes involved in sports that require running, jumping, and repetitive impact on the heel, such as soccer, basketball, and gymnastics.

Risk Factors

1. Growth Spurts: Rapid growth can lead to a discrepancy in bone and muscle development, making the heel more vulnerable to injury.

2. Overuse and High-Impact Activities: Participation in high-impact sports or excessive training can stress the growth plate in the heel, leading to inflammation and pain.

3. Inadequate Footwear: Ill-fitting or unsupportive footwear can contribute to the development of Sever's disease.

4. Tight Achilles Tendon: A tight Achilles tendon can put increased stress on the growth plate.

Treatment Options

The good news is that Sever's disease is typically manageable with conservative treatments. As a sport chiropractic office, we offer various effective treatment options for young athletes:

1. Rest: Rest is essential to allow the inflamed growth plate to heal. Reducing or temporarily stopping sports activities can help alleviate symptoms.

2. Ice: Applying ice to the affected area can reduce pain and inflammation. It's recommended to ice the heel for 15-20 minutes at a time.

3. Stretching Exercises: Chiropractors can provide guidance on stretching exercises to improve the flexibility of the calf muscles and Achilles tendon, which can alleviate stress on the growth plate.

4. Orthotics: We like the Tuli's brace for kids to provide additional support and help distribute pressure more evenly on the foot, without making the child feel restricted in movement.  We'll link what we like below.

5. Footwear: Ensuring that your child wears well-fitted, supportive athletic shoes with cushioning and proper arch support can prevent excessive stress on the heel.

6. Chiropractic Care: Chiropractors can offer treatments such as spinal adjustments and myofascial release to address any biomechanical issues that may be contributing to Sever's disease.

Preventing Sever's Disease

Prevention is key when it comes to Sever's disease. To help reduce the risk of this condition:

1. Ensure proper warm-up and cool-down routines before and after sports activities.

2. Gradually increase the intensity and duration of training.

3. Invest in high-quality, supportive footwear that is appropriate for the specific sport.

4. Encourage cross-training and variation in physical activities to reduce the risk of overuse injuries.

Sever's disease is a common and manageable condition that affects many young athletes. At Ames Spine & Sport, we are dedicated to helping children and adolescents recover from Sever's disease and other sports-related injuries. By providing appropriate care, guidance, and prevention strategies, we aim to keep young athletes healthy, pain-free, and performing at their best. If your child is experiencing heel pain, contact us for expert guidance and care.

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