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  • Writer's pictureTina Dang

Understanding Sever's Disease in Children: Diagnosis and Podiatry Treatment

Childhood is a time of growth and development, and sometimes, it can be accompanied by certain conditions that affect young individuals. One such condition is Sever's disease, a common heel pain syndrome that primarily affects active children during their growth spurts. In this blog, we will delve into what Sever's disease is, how it is diagnosed, and the podiatry treatments available for affected children.

What is Sever's Disease?

Sever's disease, also known as calcaneal apophysitis, is not actually a disease but rather an overuse injury that occurs in the growth plate of the heel bone (calcaneus).

Typically seen in children between the ages of 8 and 14, it is more common in those who participate in sports or activities that involve repetitive impact on the heels, such as running, jumping, or soccer.

Children foot pain can affect their daily sporting activities
Children foot pain can affect their daily sporting activities

Diagnosis of Sever's Disease:

Diagnosing Sever's disease involves a thorough examination by a podiatrist or healthcare professional experienced in paediatric foot conditions. The diagnosis is primarily based on the child's medical history, physical examination, and symptoms. The podiatrist will ask about the child's activities and any recent changes, and footwear, along with assessing the affected foot for tenderness, swelling, and redness. A thorough biomechanical assessment will be carried out to determine the underlying causes of the pain. An X-ray may be ordered to rule out other conditions and confirm the diagnosis.

Podiatry Treatment for Sever's Disease:

The primary goal of treatment for Sever's disease is to manage pain, promote healing, and prevent recurrence. Here are some common podiatry treatments used for Sever's disease:

  1. Rest and Activity Modification: Reducing or avoiding activities that exacerbate symptoms is crucial. Resting the affected foot allows the inflammation and pain to subside. The podiatrist may recommend temporary cessation or modification of sports activities to prevent further strain on the growth plate.

  2. Ice therapy: Applying ice packs or cold therapy to the affected heel can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. Ice should be applied for about 15-20 minutes, several times a day, especially after physical activity.

  3. Stretching and Strengthening Exercises: Specific stretching and strengthening exercises can improve flexibility and promote healing. A podiatrist can guide children in performing exercises that target the calf muscles and Achilles tendon, helping to alleviate tension on the heel.

  4. Orthotic Devices: Custom orthotic devices, such as heel cups or shoe inserts, can provide support, cushioning, and stability to the foot. They help reduce stress on the growth plate and promote proper alignment during activities.

  5. Footwear Modification: Wearing appropriate footwear is essential for managing Sever's disease. The podiatrist may recommend shoes with good arch support, shock absorption, and a cushioned heel. Additionally, avoiding shoes with inadequate padding or excessive heel height is crucial to prevent discomfort.

Conclusion: Sever's disease can be a temporary setback for active children, but with proper diagnosis and podiatry treatment, it can be effectively managed. Timely intervention, rest, activity modification, and appropriate footwear choices play vital roles in alleviating symptoms and promoting healing. If your child experiences persistent heel pain, it is important to consult a podiatrist for an accurate diagnosis and personalised treatment plan.

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