Active children are prone to developing foot injuries from overuse, and one of the most common sites of those injuries is the heel. When a child complains of sharp pain in the heel of one or both feet, the most likely cause is Seiver's disease.
Seiver's disease, sometimes referred to as Sever's disease, is an inflammation of the growth plate in the heel bone, usually caused by trauma or injury. It occurs most often in growing children between the ages of 10 and 13 years old.
Causes of Seiver's disease
The exact cause of Seiver's disease is unknown, but it most likely develops from repetitive trauma and overuse of the heel bone and tendon during athletic activities.
Seiver's disease is common in children beginning new sports, particularly sports played on hard surfaces. Having tight calf muscles can also increase the risk of developing Seiver's disease because it increases the pull on the Achilles tendon, which is connected to the growth plate on the heel bone. This type of strain causes the growth plate toward the back of the heel to become inflamed.
Seiver's disease symptoms
Seiver's disease is characterized by sharp pain and tenderness in one or both heels. The pain tends to be localized at the back of the heel and is aggravated by walking or running.
Children with Seiver's disease also experience calf muscle stiffness. In severe cases, the pain can cause the child to limp when walking.
Treatment of Seiver's disease
Seiver's disease will resolve on its own once the child stops growing, but the pain associated with the condition, however temporary, can seriously limit athletic activities.
The following treatment options are recommended to help relieve the discomfort associated with Seiver's disease:
- Calf muscle stretches.
- Heel cushions.
- Anti-inflammatory medications.
- Custom orthotics.
If your child has Seiver's disease, it may be necessary to limit physical activity until symptoms improve. Wearing proper shoes will help reduce pressure on the Achilles tendons. It is also important to make sure your child avoids walking barefoot.