What is severs and how does it affect our youth athletes?
Clinically speaking, Severs occurs when the growth plate of the heel is injured by excessive forces during early adolescence. It is important to note that Severs occurs in both active and sedentary youth so is not entirely related to training load and the amount of exercise they are doing. We can help our athletes suffering from Severs understand more by describing some of the activities which can exacerbate the symptoms, including: ▪️Repeated high impact loading, especially through the heel (jumping/landing, decelerating from a sprint) ▪️Decreased ankle range of motion ▪️Excessive need to move on their tip toes So, how can you help a youth athlete with Severs? ▪️Improve gait - walking, jogging and running ▪️Develop single leg proprioception/balance and force absorption ▪️Reduce unnecessary load ▪️Improve flexibility through lower limb
Severs Disease – A checklist
✅Keep moving and staying physically active
✅Perform your rehab exercises on a daily basis
✅Remove unnecessary activity
❌Incorporate new sports / activities in during times of high symptoms
❌Seek surgical intervention
❌Rely on rest only to improve the disease
❌Fight through the pain – intelligent rehab is best
Below are a selection of exercises we would use to improve locomotion, gait, force absorption and lower limb flexibility. At the bottom of this blog there is also a 6 week downloadable program to reduce severity and pain of Severs Disease. All exercises are designed to help reduce the symptoms of Severs. STANDING TRIPOD - develop and strengthen the deep foot muscles to help with co-ordination and proprioception
HEEL TOE SKIPS - refine running patterns and develop awareness in foot strike positions.
2-1 FORCE ABSORPTION - aid in development of force absorption through a single limb
BALANCE BOARD - single leg balance and stability. Improved body position awareness
SOFT TISSUE MASSAGE - release of lower limb muscles that become tight during times of high severs symptoms
The most important take-away message with Severs Disease is that it does not need to be debilitating and remove athletes from sports.
If it is correctly managed, athletes can continue with their training and competition on a daily basis.
Download here for a 6 week program to reduce the severity and pain of Severs Disease