If you have a child playing in the Sr Rookie, Tyke, or Peewee baseball leagues in Collingwood this year, you need to be on the lookout for Sever’s disease. Don’t worry—it’s not a life-threatening condition, just one that causes heel pain in growing kids from about 8 to 14 years old.
To see if your son or daughter has a problem with tight muscles and tendons, do this simple test: while he or she lies down with legs out straight, gently push the feet up toward a 90-degree angle. If you feel resistance, the tissues are likely too tight. They may be pulling at the heel bone and irritating the growth plate. Fortunately, simple stretching can help.
Start with a 5 – 10 minute warm-up, then follow with any of these stretches:
- Seated hamstring – Sit on floor, legs in front of you and slightly bent at the knee, hands on your thighs. Lean forward with your core and slide the hands toward your feet until you feel a gentle pull under your thighs. Breathe normally, hold 15 seconds, release, and repeat 3-5 times.
- Standing wall calf stretch – Face a wall with hands on it at shoulder height. Move one leg back 12 – 18 inches (30 – 45 cm). With knee straight and heel firmly on the floor, lean in toward the wall, keeping your body as straight as possible. You’ll feel the tension in the upper calf. Hold 15 – 30 seconds and release. Try it with your knee slightly bent to work the lower calf muscles.
- Work your foot muscles – Roll a tennis ball around under your arch. Sit on a chair with a towel under your toes and use them to pull it toward you. Stand facing a wall, put your big toe on it and slide down until you feel a bit of resistance under your arch. You can also stand with toes on a step and slowly lower your heels off the edge. This works several muscle groups.
At Abbott Foot & Ankle Clinic we can examine your son or daughter to confirm Sever’s disease or see what else might be wrong. Sometimes heel supports or custom orthotics can help relieve pain while your child outgrows the condition. Call our office in Collingwood, ON at (705) 444-9929 to schedule a visit or get more information about this painful foot problem.