There was great excitement over the World Series matchup between San Francisco and Kansas City, but there was equal, if not more cheering from passionate parents and fans at the Little League World Series. Asia-Pacific cinched the win over Great Lakes—it is truly exciting to watch these young athletes with so much talent. When children are regularly active in high impact sports, though, they can be at risk for a condition called Sever’s disease.
Sever’s disease is an injury common among active children. It is characterized by heel pain as a result of the Achilles tendon putting excess stress on the growth plate at the back of the heel. During a growth spurt, muscles and tendons can grow slower than bones and thus become tight and overstretched. With activity and repeated stress, the tight tissues pull on the growth plate and it can become inflamed and painful. If your child is complaining of a sore heel, it is important to have it diagnosed and treated promptly.
There are some easy stretches for heel pain that you can help your child do to alleviate the pain and prevent the injury from getting worse. Start out with exercises that focus on the Achilles tendon. Have your child sit on the floor with his or her legs straight out in front. Grabbing the toes and pulling them gently towards the body will stretch the back of the calves and the Achilles. Hold the stretch for 5 seconds and relax. Now, focus on the calf muscles as this will help lengthen the Achilles. Face a wall with the left foot near the wall and the right farther back. After placing your hands on the wall, bend the left knee a bit and then bend the right knee until a stretch can be felt in the right calf—hold for 15-20 seconds and then repeat with the other foot forward.
There are several more stretches for heel pain that we can show you should you need further assistance. If your child’s pain worsens even with resting, icing, and some stretching, contact Lawrence Kales, DPM for further evaluation. Your child’s foot health is too important to wait. Call Pasco-Hernando Foot & Ankle at (352) 683-5799 or (727) 868-2128.