Stretching exercises for the treatment of Sever's disease need to be done carefully. Below we outline a few popular stretches for this injury.
The following guidelines are for information purposes only. We recommend seeking professional advice before beginning rehabilitation.
- Stretching should only be done if the foot is free from pain. It is important to stretch the muscles especially if they are particularly tight as this will be extra strain on the point of injury.
- Image shows how to test the calf muscles and gastrocnemius in particular are too tight. By gently pushing on the toes, the foot should go to 90 degrees without having to force it or apply great pressure. If the foot does not go to 90 degrees this may indicate excess tension in the muscles.
- By bending the knee the gastrocnemius muscle is shortened leaving the soleus muscle stretched. Again, this should comfortably go to 90 degrees.
There are two stretches that are important when stretching calf muscles. The first one is done with the leg kept straight which stretches the Gastrocnemius muscle. This muscle starts above the knee and enters the back of the heel via the Achilles tendon. The other is the Soleus muscle which starts below the knee. By bending the knee we relax the Gastrocnemius muscle, so allowing the Soleus to take the stretch.
- This type of stretching will be the safest to use in the early stages of rehabilitation (image 3). It involves pulling the foot and toes up gently to stretch the muscles at the back of the leg.
- Hold for 8 seconds, repeat 5 times. Stretch if pain allows throughout the day.
- Keep the heel of the back leg on the ground and gently push forward (image 4). If it is painful do not do it. This will stretch the larger Gastrocnemius muscle which attaches above the knee.
- This stretch can be held for at least 10 seconds and repeat 3 times. This set of stretching can be done three times a day - more as long as it does not hurt. Some therapists will recommend holding stretches for longer periods of up to 45 seconds.
Soleus muscle stretch
- By bending the knee, the Gastrocnemius muscle is taken out of the stretch allowing the Soleus muscle to be stretched further down the leg. If it hurts, do not do it.
- You should hold this stretch for at least 10 seconds and repeat 3 times. This set of stretching can be done three times a day - more as long as it does not hurt.
- The above stretches are all that need to be done for the Achilles and calf muscles. It is the quality of what you do rather than the quantity. Remember that stretching is a long term process.
- Results may not be evident for a few days or even weeks. It is also important to maintain a stretching routine even after the injury has healed.