Severs Disease

by admin on April 24, 2010

Severs disease poses an interesting one for the barefoot runner. It only happens in youngsters up until the age of 14-15 years, so is only an issue for that age group and their parents. Severs disease is an overuse type injury to the cartilage growth plate at the back of the heel bone. The growth plate merges with the bone around the mid-teen years, so is a self limiting problem.  It is more common in active kids who play a lot of sport on hard surfaces. So the hard surfaces play a role in Severs Disease. As barefoot running does not involve a heel contact and is more a midfoot and forefoot running pattern, theoretically barefoot may be beneficial for Severs Disease. However, another factor is that the Achilles tendon attaches to this back of the growth plate in the heel and will put a lot of strain through the area. Barefoot activity or changing to a midfoot or forefoot strike will increase the load through the Achilles tendon and the growth plate. This perhaps suggest that barefoot running or activity may not be a good idea for those kids with Severs disease. The standard treatment for Severs Disease is to reduce the volume of activity and use a heel raise to relieve the pull from the Achilles tendon and give some shock absorption.

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