Jade doing gymnastics

May 18, 2021 / Sports Medicine

They Made Me Feel Happy!

When Jade was only 4 years old, her gymnastics coaches recognized something in her that was special. After her first two weeks of gymnastics classes, the coaches approached Jade’s mother, Jazzmyne, about Jade being on their team. “I couldn’t understand how they could see that quickly that she was meant to do this long-term because she literally had done it for two weeks,” says Jazzmyne. “After the first six months or so, I did notice that she had a great talent for gymnastics!”

Jade continued to thrive in the sport, impressing everyone with her agility and strength. Training at Kurt Thomas Gymnastics, she was a level 5 gymnast with no plans to stop. One day as she was attempting a vault, she felt a sharp pain in her heel when she hit the springboard. Jazzmyne had noticed the Scottish Rite for Children Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center in Frisco because it is right across the street from Jade’s allergy and asthma doctor. She had also heard great things about Scottish Rite from friends. “I think it was the best place to take her since Scottish Rite specializes in sports medicine for children, and I’m real big on specialists,” says Jazzmyne.

Scottish Rite sports medicine physician Jacob C. Jones, M.D., RMSK, examined Jade and obtained X-rays of her heel to evaluate her calcaneal (heel) apophysis (growth plate). He determined that she had inflammation in this growth plate, called calcaneal apophysitis more commonly referred to as Sever’s disease. This overuse injury is caused by repetitive movements, like running and jumping. Sever’s is the most common cause of heel pain in active children ages 8-12. In most cases, overuse injuries become worse gradually over time, but some like Jade, present after an injury that exacerbates the heel. “In either case, this is best treated as soon as it is recognized,” Jones says, “Our treatment aims to minimize activity-related pain.”

Treatment for this condition is often simple, providing comfort and modifying activities to allow the inflamed growth plate to recover. The sports medicine team provided heel cups for Jade to wear in her shoes to help provide comfort and recommended a home exercise program of calf stretches to reduce the tension on her heel.

“I was really impressed with the staff at Scottish Rite,” says Jazzmyne. “They were very nice, helpful in explaining things and very pediatric friendly.” “They made me feel happy!” says Jade.

Today, Jade says that she is doing better. She reminds other young athletes that they need to follow their doctor’s instructions and do the exercises and stretches they recommend. “It is important to stretch,” she says. Jade also knows that it is important to listen to her body and not continue activities when something doesn’t feel right. “Tell your coaches when it hurts.” Jazzmyne agrees. Not speaking up can potentially keep young athletes out of a sport that they love much longer than the time it takes to diagnose and treat an issue early. “Jade’s coaches try to encourage her to not be afraid to speak up when she has problems because it’s really important to catch things early before things get any worse,” says Jazzmyne. 

Jade appreciates the trust that her coaches have put in her to speak up, and it shows. She says that she wants to be a gymnastics coach when she grows up. Jones admires coaches that understand the importance of protecting the health and safety of young and growing athletes. Teaching them to take care of themselves is a lesson that will last well beyond their sports careers.

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