As children grow, they still have an area of cartilage cells in their heels known as a growth plate. When they hit their growth spurt, these cartilage cells fuse together to form stronger bone cells, but when they inflame or swell, it is called Sever’s Disease. The pain associated with this disease is due to the bones growing faster than the muscles and tendons surrounding it, leading it to tighten. It’s important to be able to distinguish between growth plate conditions from stress fractures. To reduce swelling and the pain, it is recommended to rest and avoid strenuous activities for a period of time.
Athletes should always keep in mind what type of clothing or equipment they use. Runners who tend to wear tight or pointy shoes may develop hammer toes. When an imbalance occurs in the toe muscles, this can result in the toe bending towards the side. Dr. Pearl has the diagnostic tools to define more clearly the areas of injury with both ultrasound for soft tissue and x-ray for bone. It is advisable to check any footwear like treads and studs to prevent swelling that occurs from sports.