School is back in session, sports like soccer, football, and cross-country are in full swing—and your tween is complaining of heel pain. Sever’s disease, common among active kids between 8 and 15, may be self-limiting, but that doesn’t mean you and your little one can’t take steps to limit the discomfort and get back on the field as soon as possible. Here are our suggestions:
- Take a break. Sever’s disease is caused by overuse, so taking a few weeks away from the activity that lead to the injury is necessary for tissues to repair themselves. To keep active during the break, try low-impact activities like biking.
- Use ice to control swelling. Ice should be limited to 20-30 minutes at a time, no more than 3 times per day. Wrap the ice pack in a small hand towel to avoid damaging the skin.
- Perform exercises to help stretch tight tendons and strengthen supporting muscles. Regular calf and hamstring stretches are often the best choice, since a tight Achilles tendon is very often a contributing factor to the development of heel pain in kids.
- Resistance band exercises are also helpful—from a seated position on the floor, try hooking one end around a table leg, the other around your forefoot (just enough for some tension in the cord) and slowly pull the foot forward, then backward. This exercise is great for developing shin muscles.
- Be patient. Most cases resolve in a little over 2 weeks, but some can take as long as 2 months. We know your little one is itching to get back on the field with their friends, but it’s important to take the necessary amount of time to fully heal; otherwise, symptoms will continue.
Most cases of Sever’s disease are treatable with old-fashioned home care, and all cases should get better on their own eventually. That said, if your child is experiencing severe pain, you should bring them to see the podiatrists at Family Foot and Ankle Center. We’ll perform a full assessment to see if there are any additional underlying conditions that need to be addressed, or if your child could benefit from medications or a walking boot.
To schedule an appointment at one of our six area locations, contact us online or call toll free at 888-689-3317.