A Natural Approach To Health
Living With Sever’s Disease
I had a question the other day about Sever’s disease.
Although the name might sound scary, Sever’s disease is really a common heel injury occurring in kids.
It can be painful, but it’s only temporary and has no long-term effects.
Sever’s disease is a painful bone disorder resulting from inflammation of the growth plate in the heel.
A growth plate is an area at the end of a developing bone where cartilage cells change over time into bone cells.
As this happens, the growth plates expand and unite, which is how bones grow.
Sever’s disease is a common cause of heel pain in growing kids, especially those who are physically active.
It usually occurs during the growth spurt of adolescence, the approximately 2-year period in early puberty when kids grow most rapidly.
This growth spurt can begin any time between the ages of 8 and 13 for girls and 10 and 15 for boys.
Sever’s disease rarely occurs in older teens because the back of the heel usually finishes growing by the age of 15, when the growth plate hardens and the growing bones fuse together into mature bone.
During the growth spurt of early puberty, the heel bone sometimes grows faster than the leg muscles and tendons.
This can cause the muscles and tendons to become very tight and overstretched, making the heel less flexible and putting pressure on the growth plate.
The Achilles tendon is the strongest tendon attaching to the growth plate in the heel.
Over time, repeated stress on the already tight Achilles tendon damages the growth plate, causing the swelling, tenderness, and pain of Sever’s disease.
Such stress commonly results from physical activities and sports that involve running and jumping, especially those taking place on hard surfaces, like track, basketball, soccer, and gymnastics.
Sever’s disease also can result from standing too long, which puts constant pressure on the heel.
Poor-fitting shoes can contribute to the condition by not providing enough support or padding for the feet or by rubbing against the back of the heel.
Although Sever’s disease can occur in any child, these conditions increase the chances of it happening:
>pronated foot (a foot that rolls in at the ankle when walking), which causes tightness and twisting of the Achilles tendon, thus increasing its pull on the heel’s growth plate
>flat or high arch, which affects the angle of the heel within the foot, causing tightness and shortening of the Achilles tendon
>short leg syndrome (one leg is shorter than the other), which causes the foot on the short leg to bend downward to reach the ground, pulling on the Achilles tendon
>overweight or obesity, which puts weight-related pressure on the growth plate
The most obvious sign of Sever’s disease is pain or tenderness in one or both heels, usually at the back.
The pain also might extend to the sides and bottom of the heel, ending near the arch of the foot.
Symptoms are usually worse during or after activity and get better with rest.
The immediate goal of treatment is pain relief.
Because symptoms generally worsen with activity, the main treatment for Sever’s disease is rest, which helps to relieve pressure on the heel bone, decreasing swelling and reducing pain.
To deal with Sever’s disease it’s beneficial to:
*Increase weight-bearing exercises
*Eat calcium-rich foods.
*Take natural supplements.
*Get plenty of vitamin D.
*Eat fresh (not canned) pineapple and/or papaya because they contain enzymes that reduce inflammation.
*Explore the use of Arnica (homeopathic remedy).
*Consider Horsetail (herb) tea or extract.
*Eliminate acid-forming food and drinks (coffee, soda pop, dairy, red meat, processed foods, sugar, white flour products)