What is Severs?
Severs is an acute condition that affects the back of the heel bone around the area where the Achilles tendon inserts. This condition occurs during growth spurts and is most common in children aged between 8 and 14 years old. It crops up mostly in children who play sports like football and soccer. Symptoms include a painful pressure in the heel that is particularly uncomfortable when running and jumping.
How is severs caused?
- Overuse injury – overactive children, participating in multiple sports at a time, sudden increase in activity, lead up to school cross country or athletics day
- Stress response – repeated impact and stretching of muscles causes tightness meaning calf muscles pull on calcaneal bone resulting in inflammation and increased sensitivity to growth plate.
- External factors – soft flexible footwear, training on hard surfaces like wooden floors or concrete, hard ground i.e. preseason winter sport
Also seen in children with high arched or low arched feet, obesity and sometimes coincides with recent or current growth spurts.
How can I manage Severs?
There are a few ways to manage and treat the symptoms of severs disease. The aim is reducing the tension in the back of the heel where the growth plate. A podiatrist can help by assessing any biomechanical issues and check alignment to reduce any tension on the heels. Podiatrists can also assess footwear to make sure the feet are properly supported, especially through the heel cupping. They can also help prescribe stretches the release the tension down the back of the legs and exercises to help strengthen weak muscles and to stabilise the foot.
Seeing a podiatrist is the best way to help combat and treat this painful condition, they can create a personalised treatment plan to best suit your needs and aid your recovery.
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