Physical Therapy for Sever's Disease

Physical Therapy for Sever’s Disease

What is Sever’s Disease?

Sever’s Disease is a condition known as an “apophysitis.”  At the ends of children’s bones that have not yet fused are growth plates.  Because these plates haven’t fused, the bone is weak at the ends.  A child’s growth coupled with running and jumping playing sports causes tendons that attach to bone start to “pull away” the bone.  As a result, the body feverishly tries to lay down more bone to reinforce it.  Because of that, the tendon and the bone can become painful and irritated.  What complicates matters further is that as a child grows, the bones get longer as do the muscles, but there isn’t an associated increase in strength of those muscles.  Kids are often tight as well.  Tightness + weakness + growth + physical activity = apophysitis.  Sever’s Disease  is at the Achilles where it attaches to the heel.  As a result of Sever’s Disease, many kids have a painful “bump” on their heel that is a result of the body laying down bone to reinforce the weak parts of bone.
severs Physical Therapy for Sever's Disease

Exercises for Sever’s Disease

So how do you fix it? Well, there are several things you should do in physical therapy.  In no particular order, one thing you should do is activity modification.  If you are playing three sports at once, you may have to back off of one a little.  For example, if you are in-season with basketball but are also doing indoor soccer, you may have to back off soccer a bit so basketball doesn’t suffer.  Alternatively, if soccer is your sport, back off of basketball a bit.  There has to be some “relative rest” to get better, that’s all there is to it.  If you have Sever’s Disease, a heel lift in the shoe will help immensely because it will take some tension off of the Achilles and the bone.  Third, you can get physical therapy to teach you some specific stretches for the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves.  Next, soft tissue mobilization of the calves and back of the leg will help improve the quality of tissue in the muscles.  Finally, very specific strengthening exercises should be done, known as eccentric training.  These can make your child worse if not done right, so see one of the sports physical therapists at SSOR to give you some guidance.  Lastly, ice massage really helps with both of these, even better than an ice bag.  Just fill up a Styrofoam cup full of water, freeze it, and when frozen, peel off the top of the cup to expose the ice and rub it on the area until numb.
The physical therapists at SSOR really enjoy working with kiddos to help get them better.  We laugh a little and give kids the “TLC” they need to get back to the things they love to do.  Our sports physical therapists understand the causes of Sever’s Disease and how to fix it.  Give us a call, it would be a privilege to help your child!  Remember, you no longer need a physician referral to see a PT in Kansas.