Bone and Joint Blog

Heel Pain in Children: Understanding Sever's Disease

Posted Apr 22, 2022 3:33:00 PM

One of the hardest parts of being a parent is watching your child in pain. If your young one is particularly active in sports or other physical activities, chances are you’ve had to help them manage injuries from time to time.

Sever’s disease is the most common heel injuries in growing children, resulting from swelling of the growth plate in the heel. It is most often observed in girls 8 - 10 years old and boys 10 - 12 years old.

Since the foot is one of the first body parts to grow to full size during early puberty, it is particularly vulnerable to injury. Bones usually grow faster than muscles and tendons. As a result, these tissues tend to be tight and less flexible than they will be in later years. During sports or other weight bearing activities, the tight heel tendons can put pressure at the back of the heel where the Achilles tendon attaches. This can injure the heel, leading to the inflammation associated with Sever’s disease.

Although it’s not a serious diagnosis, it’s important to know the symptoms and how it’s treated in order to prevent a worsening injury and discomfort.

Symptoms of Sever’s Disease

  • Heel pain in one or both heels

  • Walking with a limp or tiptoeing to avoid putting pressure on the heel

  • Redness or swelling in the heel area

  • Discomfort and stiffness of foot or heel after sleeping

Treatment of Sever’s Disease

  • Taking time off from intense activities that cause heel pain

  • Stretching calf muscles

  • Orthopedic physical therapy to help strengthen leg muscles and tendons

  • Medications like Tylenol or Motrin to reduce any swelling
  • Heel cup inserts for shoes to help cushion the heel

With proper care, Sever’s disease usually dissipates between two weeks and two months. No long-term issues such as arthritis have been linked to Sever’s disease, but it’s important to keep your physician aware of any significant changes in your child’s pain or symptoms throughout their treatment.

Pediatric Orthopedic Care in Baton Rouge

Your child suffering any injury can be a scary thought, which is why our experts at The Bone and Joint Clinic of Baton Rouge want to get them playing more and hurting less. As leaders in assessing, diagnosing and treating pediatric injuries and orthopedic conditions like Sever’s disease, our team of experts will provide a treatment plan centered around you and your child. Take the first step towards living without pain by scheduling an appointment today.