Heel Pain Isn’t A Game

What is Severs Disease

Elie Yates, Staff

Your heel feels like someone is stabbing it and you can barely walk. You’ve been limping from class to class all day and its getting annoying.  All you want is to go home and play soccer but that’s not happening. Nobody has been able to do anything about it and it keeps getting worse. You finally decide to go to the doctor and he tells you have Severs disease. 

Severs disease isn’t a sickness or life threatening, it’s more of a condition. Severs happens when your Achilles tendon becomes inflamed around the area where it attaches to your growth plate.This causes pain around your heel and makes it difficult to play sports, especially since most people have it in both heels. The Boston Children’s Hospital says its common among adolescents and can be easily treated without surgery.  Kids who are often running, jumping, or weight bearing are more prone to Severs because this causes the inflammation. Sports such as soccer, track, football, and basketball can also cause swelling. 

Some symptoms that may indicate you have Severs are heel pain, tenderness around your heel, and swelling in the area. Kids tend to avoid using there heel to much so they limp or walk on their toes to get around. Athletes usually will complain after or during their activity about there heel if they are feeling pain.

The diagnosis of Severs disease usually involves a physical exam and an x-ray. The x-ray is intended to let doctors look at the area around the growth plate and see if there is any other possible causes. 

“ A doctors examination usually reveals tenderness over the heel bone and tightness of the heel and calf muscles” the Children’s Hospital Colorado says.

Severs disease doesn’t cause long term damage, meaning if your benched because of heel pain, it’s not going to last forever. 

“Treatment of heel pain starts with rest. Ice and anti-inflammations like over the counter ibuprofen and naproxen may decrease pain, but if it persists 7-10 days, then evaluation by a specialist is in order.” said Dr. Juliet DeCampos of the Andrews Institute. 

Taking time off from your sport or activity that causes you pain is recommended by most doctors. 

“The condition is difficult to prevent completely but changing the type and amount of physical activity while experiencing pain can help.”

Stretching can be a great recovery tool too. Nationwide Children’s Hospital recommends you do three simple stretches three times a day. The first is a calf stretch were another person holds your foot and pushes it towards you. The other two stretches are a calf stretch against the wall and one with a towel. Ice helps reduce swelling if you keep it on for 20 minute periods at a time. Orthotics and heel cups can too as they take off some of the stress on the heel. After your pain has been handled, you can return to playing sports and running outside but you need to do it with a little more caution incase pain returns.