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Seaver's Disease

Posted by Carol C. on 10/01/03 at 11:11 (131830)

My 13 year old son was suffering from heel pain and was diagnosed yesterday with Seaver's Disease. I have a number of questions:

o What is it exactly?
o How can we minimize his discomfort?
o Does this problem ever require surgery to correct it?
o If he simply must wait until he outgrows it, how long does it typically take to outgrow?

Much obliged to you for any information you can provide.
Thank you,
Carol C.

Re: Seaver's Disease

Dr Z on 10/01/03 at 11:28 (131831)

Hi Carol

Sever's disease is an inflamation of the growht plates in the foot. The area you are talking about is behind the heel bone, where the achilles tendon attaches to the foot. No! surgery isn't needed. You can either use our search engine on this site or go to my web site at http://www.thefootspecialist.com . I wrote an article on this topic. Let me know if you need any additional information

Re: Seaver's Disease

Carol C. on 10/01/03 at 11:38 (131832)

Thank you for your reply. I went to your website looking for your article on Seaver's Disease, but couldn't find it. Please tell me how to access it, particularly since I'm looking for information as to how to minimize my son's discomfort. Advil? Apply Ice? or Heat? Keep it elevated? Wear a cushioned heel cup? Wear some sort of brace?
Carol C.

Re: Seaver's Disease

dave r on 10/01/03 at 11:43 (131834)

Growing Pains are Real and Common Among Children
By Dr. David Zuckerman

Growing pains. An old wives's tale? Well, yes and no. Adolescents do experience accelerated growth spurts. And the foot, ankle, and leg pains that young boys - and increasingly girls - report are associated with growth plate centers.

Thin, flat, crescent - shaped growth centers separate bone and cartilage in younger children. As a child nears puberty, these growth centers close and ossify, the process by which cartilage becomes bone.

Between the ages of 8 and 12, when boys and girls become more active in sports, or dance, a child may complain of pain or parents may notice limping. While these complaints are historically more common among boys, as more and more girls join in hockey, soccer and other team sports, they, too,
suffer growth center pain.

The most common growth center complaint I treat is severe pain behind the heel, which stems from overusing the foot and ankle in hard training. The fibers of the Achilles tendon pull on the heel's growth plate and create inflammation within the heel bone.

Growth center pain is even more common among children who have flat feet, toe-in or have other foot problems. For these youngsters, an orthotic, a splint or soft cast is usually enough to properly position and strengthen feet and ankles, and prevent future pain and injury.

With prompt treatment, growth center pain persists only a few days or weeks and surgery is rarely needed. Untreated, growth center injury can require long term treatment. Such an injury can even result in fracture or dislocation of the growth plate, chronic pain, muscle imbalance, reduced range of motion, shortened limbs or permanent joint deformity. In extreme cases, a total joint replacement may be necessary.

When I suspect a youngster's pain is growth plate related, I x-ray the area to rule out fractures or dislocation of the growth plate, which is held together only by cartilage. I examine the child's practice and game schedules, and I often find the youngster is playing sports year-round, practicing daily, warming up with wind sprints and skipping proper cool-down exercise.

Kids will resist interrupting their game and practice schedule, even for a short time. But sometimes the podiatrist must immobilize the injured growth center in a soft removable cast or splint for a brief period. Then, more often than not, he or she, can prescribe an orthotic for the shoes that allows the child to play, without re-injury.

Usually, when growth center pain occurs, modifying activity is enough to remedy the problem. Above all, parents and coaches must never allow a youngster to play through injury or pain.

The writer is a surgeon podiatrist who practices in Woodbury, NJ

Re: Seaver's Disease

Carol C. on 10/01/03 at 12:14 (131836)

Thank you,
Carol C.