What is Sever’s disease?
By Melissa Gottschalk, ATC
In young athletes certain areas of the body are more likely to experience pain than others. These areas include the elbow, knees, and heels. Sever’s disease occurs when the calf muscle (gastrocnemius-soleus complex) creates traction and pulls on the Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon is the site where the calf muscle connects to the heel bone. The repetitive traction or pulling on the Achilles tendon creates an inflammation at the tendon-muscle junction and heel pain results.
Who is risk for Sever’s disease ?
Young, adolescent athletes are most likely to experience Sever’s disease. A lot of growth occurs during these years but the bones and muscles may not grow in sync with each other creating an uneven distribution of force on certain areas of the body. Sports likely to see Sever’s disease include basketball, soccer, track or any other running activities.
Sever’s disease What to look for?
Typical signs and symptoms that an athlete may experience includes posterior heel pain below the Achilles tendon insertion and pain during vigorous activity that goes away with rest.
How to treat Sever’s disease?
The best treatment for athletes with Sever’s disease is to rest the legs so the traction/pulling stops, activity modification, apply ice for 20 minutes approximately every two hours to help get rid of inflammation, stretch the calf muscles to prevent extra unnecessary traction from tight muscles, add a heel lift to the shoe and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be used to help with pain and decreasing inflammation.
There is a very good chance that with proper treatment the heel pain will decrease and go away within 2-6 weeks.
Cassas, K. J., Cassettari-Wayhs, A. (2006). Childhood and adolescent sports-related overuse injuries. American Family Physician, 73(6):1014-1022.
Prentice, W.E. (2003). Arnheim’s principles of athletic training: a competency based approach (11th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Melissa Gottschalk, ATC is a second year graduate student and recipient of the Hughston Athletic Training Fellowship in Columbus, Georgia. She graduated from Southeast Missouri State University in December of 2007 with a Bachelors Degree in Health Management with an emphasis in Athletic Training. While attending Southeast, she completed rotations with gymnastics, men’s basketball, baseball, football, men’s and women’s track and volleyball. In addition to her responsibilities at Southeast, Melissa also completed a rotation at Cape Central High School and Health Point Fitness center, as well as an internship at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Melissa was a member of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority and the Health, Human Performance, and Recreation Honor Society. Awards received while at Southeast included: Gamma Phi Beta Senior of the Year 2007, Dean’s list, and Scholar Athlete Awards. She is an active member of the National Athletic Trainer’s Association (NATA), as well as an active member of First Presbyterian Church, Missouri, in which she has attended several mission trips sponsored by the Reach Program. Melissa has been assigned to and will oversee the healthcare of the athletes at Blackmon Road and Midland Middle Schools in Columbus, Georgia.