Sports Medicine

SEVER’S DISEASE STUDY

 

BACKGROUND: Pain in the heel and Achilles tendon is a common complaint among children between the age of 7 and 12. The condition was first described by Dr. Sever in Boston in 1912 and has been attributed to apophysitis or inflammation of the bone. The treatment has consisted of relative and absolute immobilization using orthotics, cast-boots or casts. Despite treatment, over 50% of children have ongoing or recurrent problems.

HYPOTHESIS: With careful reconsideration of the pathophysiology of the disease, we believe it is caused by a problem in the tendon and a failure of adaptation to increasing loads imposed by rapid growth. Specifically, we have found there is an exponential increase in load on muscles and tendons as children grow. This relationship was the basis of a new theory on the pathophysiology of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, published in the journal Muscle & Nerve in September 2013.

CURRENT RESEARCH FINDINGS: We have found that implementation of a very specific 12-week exercise program can result in total resolution of symptoms in as quickly as 2 weeks. By eliminating the use of ineffective orthotics and cast-boots, children are allowed greater mobility during treatment and enjoy a rapid return to sports and physical activities.

STATUS: 54 patients have completed the program with around 90% success rate. Children have had a significant reduction in pain and have been able to resume their sports activities. We need to further analyze our data and submit a paper with our findings.