Severs heel pain is one of the most common causes of pain in children. It occurs in children between the ages of 8-14 whose bodies are growing and are very active. The pain comes on with participation in sports that have a lot of running and jumping. In our patients severs heel pain is often worse in winter with football, basketball, netball and athletics. It then usually eases in summer when more time is spent swimming and cycling, which naturally have less impact forces on the heel.
What is Severs Heel Pain?
The medical term for Severs heel pain, is ‘calcaneal apophysitis’. It is an inflammatory condition that affects the point where the calf muscle tendon (achilles tendon) attaches into the heel bone (calcaneus). Repeated running and jumping during adolescent growth phases causes irritation at this point.
What are the symptoms?
Ongoing pain in children should always be checked out. Unlike their parents, children do not have arthritis or tendon problems. So if they complain of a heel pain have a physiotherapist assess it to ensure the correct diagnosis is made.
Severs heel pain presents with:
How to Fix Severs Heel Pain?
The good news about Sever’s Disease is that because it is directly related to the amount of running and jumping the person does.
If the exercise load is carefully managed, the child can still participate in modified sport and the pain will settle within weeks.
For the longer term, sport choices and intensity will have to be managed for 6 months – 2 years depending on how reactive the heel pain is, which is different in every child.
At Active Solutions Physiotherapy Our Treatment Involves:
Training should be modified to get through the season, but they can still be part of the team.
Strengthening through the calf and leg muscles with an exercise program
Heel raises into shoes and orthotics can also help. In growing children we always use off-the-shelf orthotics that are mouldable as prescribed orthotics can be very expensive and then obsolete within a few months when feet have grown!
Good quality pair of shoes.
The most important thing is to modify your child’s activity that involves landing on the ground (impact).
Your Physiotherapist can help you find the ideal level of exercise for your child to perform.
For example: in 1 week if your child participates in:
Activities that do not involve weight bearing through the legs are fine, so swimming, water polo and cycling are a great way of keeping fit and involved in sport.
Severs heel pain is when the area where the calf muscle joins onto the heel bone becomes inflamed, due to excessive hopping and jumping in a growing body.
It can be very alarming when your child complains of foot pain mid-way through a sport season, when they have committed to a team or have been selected to run a race.
Physiotherapy has great success in treating this pain by modifying training so that the heel can tolerate it, strengthening jumping capacity and examining footwear. Despite the high level of pain, there will be no long term problems, however Physiotherapy is needed to understand how to get through the season!