Children And Foot Pain: A Parent's Guide To Understanding Sever's Disease
One of the most difficult things about being a parent is watching your child experience pain. This is especially upsetting when your child is healthy and athletic and suddenly becomes afflicted with foot pain that makes it difficult for them to continue participating in the sports activities they love.
Children are often seen as resilient or thought to be immune from developing the aches and pains sometimes seen in adults. However, sports injuries do occur in young children.
Sever's disease is one of the conditions that young children may develop, especially those who are active in dance or sports.
What is Sever's disease?
Sever's disease is a repetitive stress injury that occurs in an active and healthy child. It causes excessive pain in the heel of the foot. The condition is also referred to as calcaneal aphophysitis.
Children who play soccer, football, basketball, and tennis may be more prone to developing the condition. Children who are involved in dance classes may also experience the painful condition.
If not treated, the condition can become so painful that the child may need to decrease or eliminate participation in sports.
What are the symptoms of Sever's disease?
When the condition first develops, your child may complain of pain following sporting activity or dance class. This pain is typically felt in the area of the heel. If the condition is more severe, your child will experience pain while performing the sporting activities rather than just after the activities. Sever's disease is most commonly diagnosed in children between the ages of 8 and 14. This is due to the fact that the growth plate is not fully developed at this stage of life.
What to do if you suspect your child has Sever's disease
If your child begins to complain of any foot pain, especially heel pain, you should schedule an appointment with a podiatrist for an evaluation.
If your podiatrist feels you child is suffering with Sever's disease, a course of treatment will be established. Sever's disease responds well to conventional treatments. Surgery is not required for the treatment of Sever's disease.
Treatments for Sever's disease
Your podiatrist will do a thorough analysis of your child's ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Your child's gait pattern will also be examined. Stretching and strengthening exercises are typically implemented to relieve pain and discomfort. Ice baths for the affected foot may be advised following sports to relieve any pain and inflammation.
Your child's podiatrist can also make recommendations on footwear that is best for your child's specific foot structure. Special orthotics may be necessary in some cases. These devices are worn in the shoe and help control traction and tension on the heel growth plate. They also help cushion ground force reactions to the calcaneal region.
Although Sever's disease can be distressing to a healthy child who loves sports, it can usually be successfully treated with specific exercises, orthotics, and anti-inflammatory measures. Podiatrists like Laurel Podiatry Associates, LLC will work with you and your child to develop the right treatment protocol while allowing your child to continue to enjoy participating in the sports they love.