WAG Please share Severs success stories

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Proud Parent
Aug 24, 2012
Central US
Kipper is 11, and has had bouts of Severs flare ups since she was 9. Always during meet season, of course! The previous 2 seasons, the flare ups only lasted a few weeks, and only affected 1 meet, it any. The current flare up started more than a month ago and is showing no signs of improving. When she reached a point she couldn't walk recently, we had it x-rayed just to be sure it was only Severs. She cried when we got the diagnosis, because she had hoped it was "only a fracture" that would heal. Instead the doc patiently explained that she would possibly deal with this for a few more years. Since then, we are doing suggested stretching and massage techniques, as well as ice and modified practices. (limited running, no hard landings, etc.) Her coach tapes a gel cup to her foot, and she manages to get through practice most days without a lot of pain. If she complains a lot, I keep her out of practice (under protest). I think the doc mentioned 14 as the age when this is likely to go away. Honestly, I don't see her staying in the sport that long is this becomes the norm. Can anyone share stories of going from age 11-14 with this condition? Other than the support measures we've put in place, can I offer her any encouragement that this isn't permanent? I assume it will improve at some point, and then likely return, but has anyone seen the condition persist for 6 months or more?
I'm so sorry your dd is dealing with this. I don't have any personal stories to share and I'm sure you've tried mostly everything at this point. However there is a girl on DD's team that is dealing with Sever's. The pain has been pretty bad for her, and she had to miss a couple of meets. However, her mom bought the cheetah cups (some sort of heal brace?) for her and it has allowed her to be able to train and compete without being in so much pain. Sounds similar to what the coach is using for your dd, but it might be worth a try.

I really hope she is feeling better soon! It sounds like you are doing everything you can to manage it and working with the doctor as well. Would physical therapy be an option for this condition? It might be something to look into.

Best wishes for your dd, I hope she gets to feeling back to normal very soon!
My son (he's not a gymnast) is dealing with Sever's now. He's seeing a doctor that specializes in Active Release Technique. The Dr. can treat Severs in 3-5 visits. I know it sounds crazy, but he's been very successful.
Thank you @cadybearsmommy! We have the Cheetah cup. That is what got her through the previous two seasons. The taping/gel cup actually works a little better than the cheetah. I think it's because of the way he tapes the arch? It offers the same cushion, but more support than the cheetah. @Stellar , I will research the Active Release Technique. I'm sure anything that can lengthen and relax the tendon and the calf muscles will help.
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my daughter had one bout of it a few months ago- was pretty intense for a few weeks and then eventually faded away to nothing. we never had to try anything more than ice, ibuprofen and stretching- thank goodness.

during that time i also tried to read as much as i could about it. other than what you've already tried, a boot for a few weeks is the only other treatment i know of.

good luck!!!!!
Both my kids had it and stayed in the sport until they outgrew it. For my kids it was around 13. DS had it the worst and he's still going strong at 16. His was so bad he would try really hard to be tough and suck it up at practice and then when he got in the car after, he'd just let lose and cry. He wore the Chetah supports, iced a lot, and minimized high impact exercises. If it's really bad, I'd recommend reducing her practice schedule if possible.
Both my kids had it and stayed in the sport until they outgrew it. For my kids it was around 13. DS had it the worst and he's still going strong at 16. His was so bad he would try really hard to be tough and suck it up at practice and then when he got in the car after, he'd just let lose and cry. He wore the Chetah supports, iced a lot, and minimized high impact exercises. If it's really bad, I'd recommend reducing her practice schedule if possible.
Thanks! Glad to hear they stayed in. I hate the thought of her giving up gym because of "temporary" pain. But, it's her pain, and only she can decide when it's not worth it any more. She hasn't talked about quitting, and has been excited about picking out next year's floor music. But...I don't know how many tearful nights either of us can endure. Your story of sticking it out at practice and losing it in the car really hits home. We carpool, so Kipper usually holds it in until she gets home. I can't get her to talk to the coaches. They are super supportive, but she (like most) doesn't want to be seen as weak or lazy. How often did your kids ice? After practice only? Or on off days, too? I'll continue to follow my gut about having her sit out some practices. She normally goes M-F with Sat-Sun off. We may start taking Wed off and see if that makes a difference. Of course...I"m gonna get an earful about how "state is coming up..."
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I had a gymnast who found great relief through conventional PT combined with the use of a CVAC pod, under the supervision of her DPT. I think it's newer technology, but the kid and her Mom are swearing by it.
When I think about it, it seems to me my DD outgrew it earlier than DS--like at 12. I think girls have their adolescent growth spurt earlier than boys. My DD is 18 and has topped out at 5'1" though. She never went through a really rapid growth spurt at all.
Not severs, but we are dealing with the knee equivalent OSD. Every time she has a flair up I think that it's all over for her, but we are slowly starting to see light at the end of the tunnel.

The best thing for us was a 3 week break over Christmas. Nothing. Nada. No trampoline, playing at the park, running around with friends etc. she laid on the couch and watched tv. I know a big break isn't always possible during meet season, but it helped so much. Since then, she has more good days than bad days. Previously she was in pain every day, and didn't tumble or vault for months.

She takes more painkillers than I would prefer an 11yo to take, and any time she complains of pain she has a week off tumbling, but it IS getting better.

Good luck!
PT ice stretches. She also took Oscon a supplement that is supposed to help healing. For my daughter the first flair up was the worst, the Times after were not as bad....flares up every time she grows. Wear only tennis shoes.
Mine is in the middle of it right now because I think she has been growing again. Our treatment with a flare up has always been wearing a heel cup during practice, icing after practice, massage every other day, Aleve and a brace to wear at night. I had her checked last week because the pain seemed much worse than usual and I wanted to make sure nothing else was going on. Since it was only her Severs, her ortho prescribed Naproxin (stronger dose of Aleve than over the counter) and I restricted her from gym class, tumbling and vaulting this past week (she had back to back meets). Her coaches taped her foot at both meets because when I suggested she only do 2 events (already qualified for state), she looked at me like I was insane. I think it is subsiding now but I am continuing the massaging and brace wearing at night. I have already suggested minimal tumbling and continued restriction on gym class at school for this week as well. We will see if she listens. :p Good luck! It stinks but it seems to be one of those things they have to endure while they grow.
DD (age 10) has had one bout of Severs thus far and of course it started right before season. Her ortho (a former gymnast) was quite clear that she should limit her tumbling as much as possible. During workouts and comp warm-up her coach would only have her do 1-2 vaults and 1-2 tumbling passes. It wasn't great for her progress but it limited the pain, she got through the season and eventually it got better.

Other things we did that helped: X-brace (still wears at every practice), only wearing supportive tennis shoes (Asics brand recommended) with heel silicone heel cups in them, PT, calf stretches (still does every day). Good luck!
The X Brace is amazing. In fact, it worked so well for my daughter's Sever's (way better than the cheetah cups), that I bought a pair for me for my plantar fasciitis.

She has Osgood Schlatter's in her knees, as well, and we are having a heck of time with that. None of the braces, bands, etc that we have tried is really working. :( Her last meet she just did beam and bars.
I know that u might think this is a little dramatic but ask the doc if a boot would help. One of my teammates had severs for two years and her parents ask if a boot would help it heal quicker so they tried it for two weeks and it was much better:)
Going through the same thing here. DD (9) is on her second bout with it. First time ortho/sports medicine doctor put her in a boot for a week or so just to keep her off it and then She had modified work outs for a couple weeks. The second bout which she is just getting over was much worse. She ended up not telling us how bad the pain was for awhile and doctor said it was so badly inflamed he feared it would become a stress fracture so she ended up in a boot for 5 weeks. She came out of the boot and pushed too hard and ended up with and ankle sprain because her ankle was weakened from being in the boot. Ughhhh. She is fine now and we are having her do the stretches recommended by the doctor. She wears the cheetah cups during practice and if it hurts too much we ice it and do ibuprofen after. Our doctor said that stretching is the most important thing to help prevent it and as soon as she even feels a tiny bit of pain she needs to ease up and modify her work outs until the pain stops. I've heard good things about the x brace as well and have been thinking of looking into one as well.
We also bought very good sneakers and put heel cups in them as a poster above recommend. Also Asics because that's what DD said felt the most supportive. Doc said UGGs and flip flops are the worst because they offer no support at all.
Good luck to your DD. From my limited knowledge it seems like so many go though it and that eventually they grow out of it but it seems to cause them so much pain it's hard to imagine how they keep going.
My daughter had/has terrible severs. We bought X-brace and replace them every six months or so. She has had no issues once she started wearing them. Best thing ever.
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