Sever’s disease is one of the most common causes of heel pain in children. It is a repetitive stress injury that often develops in young athletes during a growth spurt. In this blog, we cover the causes and signs of Sever’s disease and demonstrate a few easy stretches that can help alleviate heel pain.
As children grow, growth plates made of cartilage can be found at the ends of the long bones in their body. These growth plates are eventually replaced by solid bone during adolescence. Growth plates are weaker than the rest of the child’s skeleton, including the joints, which makes them vulnerable to injuries.
How Sever’s Disease Develops
One such growth plate can be found in the lower back of the heel, near the Achilles tendon. If a child is very active, the constant pressure on the heel from running and jumping can put repetitive stress on the Achilles tendon as well as the growth plate in the heel. This wear and tear can damage the growth plate in the heel, causing pain and inflammation.
If their heels hurt too much to walk on, they may start to limp, favoring the stronger foot, or start walking on their toes instead of their heels.
Watch our Injury Spotlight video for more details on Sever’s disease diagnosis and treatment.
Stretches for Heel Pain Relief
Although Sever’s disease will eventually resolve itself, it can still be a painful experience for your child and will likely disrupt their day-to-day life. Fortunately, there are some exercises and stretches your child can practice that may help to relieve their heel pain and keep them on their feet.
*Disclaimer: Always consult with your doctor before starting any exercise program. If you experience any numbness, tingling or reproduction of your symptoms, please contact your doctor. ⠀
Seated Calf Stretch
- Sit on a chair and wrap an elastic band around the ball of your foot.
- Keep your back straight and pull on the elastic band to bring the top of the foot to the front of your shinbone until you feel a stretch.
- hold for 30 seconds.
- While lying face up, begin by placing the band under the foot.
- With the band securely placed, raise your leg up by flexing the hip and knee.
- The foot will be slightly flexed with your toes pointing towards you. This is the starting position.
- Slowly straighten the knee by pushing your heel towards the ceiling.
- You will feel a stretch in the back of your thigh/hamstring.
- Hold the stretch for 30 – 45 seconds, then return to the starting position.
- Complete 3 sets of 30-45 second holds, twice a day.
Foam Rolling Calf
- Place the foam roller between the Achilles tendon and calf muscle, do not roll behind the back of the knee.
- Cross the other leg over the leg being treated to increase the pressure.
- Roll the entire calf in an up and down motion.
- Pause at any spots that feel especially tight.
- Keep your calf relaxed.
- Roll 2x/day for up to 2 minutes per calf.
How Airrosti Can Help
We hope these exercises were helpful for you and your child. If your child is still struggling with pain from Sever’s disease or any other injury, schedule an appointment with an Airrosti provider today. Our providers will work to pinpoint and treat pain at the source so your child can keep moving and doing the things they love most.
We also offer remote telehealth services. With telehealth, our providers can deliver their services directly to you from the comfort and convenience of home.
Give us a call at (800) 404-6050 to learn more.
Read our Medical Disclaimer here.