Sever’s disease is an inflammatory growth plate condition in the heel that occurs in adolescents undergoing puberty. The rapid growth spurts during this time can cause the bones to develop at a much faster rate than the muscles and tendons can keep up with. The resulting inflammation causes the heel to lose its natural flexibility. These tightened muscles and connective tissues inflict pain on the affected area. Added pressure from the abnormally stiff heel structure causes a serious restriction on all weight-bearing activities. To prevent severe cases of Sever’s disease, stretching is often advised by physicians to relieve symptoms.
How Stretching Helps Sever’s Disease
Sever’s disease can be diagnosed in a few different ways. The tell-tale sign of the heel condition is when a child experiences pain walking or taking part in physical activity. This can be discovered by a “squeeze test,” which by pinching both sides of the heel will reveal any irregular stiffness. They may walk with a limp or be unable to walk correctly – possibly causing them to regularly tiptoe. When a diagnosis is made, a doctor will recommend stretching exercises to alleviate symptoms. Stretching will strengthen the surrounding muscles and promote flexibility to combat a Sever’s disease diagnosis. By counteracting the effects of the afflicted area, regular stretching will promote a reinvigorated muscle structure. It’s important to note that stretching should only be done when your child is not experiencing pain. Stretching while experiencing pain will only increase the issue at hand. Testing your child’s flexibility will help you decide when and what type of exercise should be applied. The following exercises are the most popular treatment methods for preventing and reducing Sever’s disease related pain.
Stretching Exercises for Sever’s Disease
Sever’s disease can be prevented by maintaining good flexibility. The most effective way to do so is actively stretching on a regular basis. The extra attention on the muscles near the calf and heel directly improve the conditions caused by Sever’s disease. Speed up your child’s recovery by incorporating well-performed stretches to the Gastrocnemius and Soleus muscles.
During the early stages of your child’s rehabilitation, active stretching is a great start to get the muscles prepared for rigorous treatment. The patient will slowly pull the foot and toes in an upward motion. This will stretch the muscles in the back of the leg. Make sure this is done gently because sudden hard twitches can cause increasingly prolonged pain.
The gastrocnemius muscle is targeted next as we move into more involved stretching. The gastrocnemius muscle is attached above the knee and allows the foot, ankle and knee to flex at their joints. This stretch keeps the heel on the ground while gently pushing and leaning forward. Many physical therapists and physicians will recommend to hold this position for periods up to 45 seconds for the best results. For extra assistance, find a wall to help keep your balance.
The soleus muscle is located at the lower half of the leg behind the calf. This stretch is performed by bringing your toes up against the wall and bending the knee until a stretch is felt. This will exclusively stretch this specific calf muscle without trying to stretch every muscle at once. Utilizing multiple types of stretches will condition the muscles to improve flexibility by separate intervals of stimulation.
Sever’s Disease Treatment Near You
Sever’s disease may be painful for children going through puberty, but thankfully there are many ways to successfully relieve their body of this condition. JAG-ONE Physical Therapy is dedicated to treating any physical condition. Our goal is to create a customized recovery and rehabilitation plan towards an improved quality of life. To learn more about JAG-ONE Physical Therapy and how we can assist with your loved one’s Sever’s disease diagnosis, please contact us at any of our over 100 office locations to schedule an appointment and learn about our comprehensive orthopedic services.