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 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 of 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 specialized 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.

40 children have completed the 12-week program, with all experiencing marked improvement in their conditions after finishing the first 2 weeks of treatment. Children were recruited through ads placed through the Napa Valley School District and Napa Valley Register.

GOAL: We are establishing a 16 patient randomized control group to better confirm our findings. There are currently 4 children enrolled. The Foundation is compensating participants in the blind study control group $150 for their time with the additional guarantee that all children will receive the fully effective treatment after the study concludes. Please contact Yvette Uribe to learn more. Once this data is compiled, we will prepare the study results for publication in The American Journal of Sports Medicine.

 Reduce Pain. Increase Mobility + Function. Improve Quality of Life.

All the research conducted through the Napa Medical Research Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is fully funded through generous donations received from individuals and family foundations.

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