Severs disease is a condition resulting in pain in one or both of the heels when mobile and typically affects younger children, with boys aged between eight and ten and girls aged between ten and twelve the most susceptible. Children experiencing a growth spurt and those involved in high impact sports such as running and jumping are also susceptible to the condition.
When children go through a growth spurt it has an effect on the Achilles tendon in that it pulls at the heel bone and it is this action which can be painful and causes the patient to limp. In some cases it may even create a lump on the heel itself.
Management of Severs disease
The condition is described as self-limiting which will cease when the patient stops growing, though it can be difficult to theorise when this will happen. Whilst there is nothing which can be done to rectify the condition there are a number of activities which can be undertaken to manage the symptoms and improve mobility in following the RICE principles:
Rest: this is important following any injury in allowing your body time to heel naturally. Whilst the condition may only subside once you have stopped growing any inflammation or pain experienced will typically subside following rest.
Ice: this is a great way of managing inflammation which can also offer some pain relief, though the ice pack should never be placed directly onto the skin or for too great a period of time as it can damage the skin and should be wrapped in a cloth or towel.
Compression: it is not always possible to apply ice when mobile, which is why wearing a compression ankle support can help to manage inflammation on the move.
Elevation: by elevating the affected area of the body above the level of the heart it can reduce the blood flow to the region and in turn reduce inflammation.
In the event that additional pain relief is required then medication may be prescribed by a doctor.
It is advisable that when suffering from Severs disease that you refrain from walking barefooted but opt to wear supportive shoes and ensure your laces are tight. By doing this your foot will be protected against any ambiguous movements compared to being barefoot.
Exercise is recommended by the NHS in the form of calf stretches which should be undertaken daily to help stretch the Achilles tendon. This can work to reduce pain gradually as well as building strength in the affected region.
If you believe you are suffering from Severs disease then a professional diagnosis is essential as failure to manage the condition can result in further complications to the heel in the long term.
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