Sever Disease

What is Sever disease?

Sever disease is heel pain in children. This pain is caused by inflammation of the heel growth plate. The growth plate is the area where the bone grows. It is located on the lower back part of the heel.

What causes Sever disease?

Sever disease is more common in children who do regular sports or exercise that puts pressure on the heels. Activities such as running and jumping can put stress on the tight muscles and tendons.

What are the signs and symptoms of Sever disease?

Your child may have pain along the edges of one or both heels during exercise. The pain usually goes away with rest, but may be worse in the morning. Your child's heel may also be slightly swollen and warm. The heel pain may be worse when your child climbs steps or stands on tiptoe. It may cause your child to limp.

How is Sever disease diagnosed and treated?

Your child's healthcare provider will ask about your child's symptoms and examine your child's feet and heels. Any of the following may be done to treat your child's pain:

  • NSAIDs help decrease swelling and pain or fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If your child takes blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for him. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children under 6 months of age without direction from your child's doctor.

  • Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much your child should take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.

  • Rest will decrease swelling, and keep the heel pain from getting worse. Your child may need to decrease his regular training or exercise. He may need to completely stop running and doing other activities that put pressure on his heel until his heel pain is gone. Ask your child's healthcare provider about activities that do not put pressure on the heel.

  • Ice should be applied on your child's heel for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain.

  • Stretching and strengthening exercises may be recommended. A healthcare provider may teach your child exercises to stretch the hamstring and calf muscles and the tendons on the back of the leg. Other exercises will help strengthen the muscles on the front of the lower leg. Your child may be told to stop exercising if he feels any pain.

  • Shoe inserts may be needed. Your child's healthcare provider may give you heel pads or cups for your child's shoes to decrease pressure on the heel bone. You may also be given shoe inserts with firm arch support and a heel lift. Make sure your child wears good quality shoes with padded soles. Your child should not walk barefoot.

  • An elastic wrap or compression stocking may be needed. Your child's healthcare provider may want your child to use a wrap or stocking to help decrease swelling and pain. Ask how to apply the wrap or stocking.

When should I contact my child's healthcare provider?

  • Your child's pain or swelling increase.

  • Your child has new symptoms, such as changes in skin color.

  • Your child has a fever.

  • Your child continues to have pain after he finishes his treatment.

  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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