Growing Pains – Sever’s Disease


What is Sever’s Disease?

Severs Disease is one of the main causes of heel pain in children – particularly in children who are active. The child usually experiences pain and tenderness at the back of the heel and this is made worse when the child 

physically active.

Severs Disease is also known as calcaneal apophysitis, it is an inflammation of the growth plate in the heel of growing children, usually associated with a growth spurt as the muscles and tendons cannot keep up with rapid bone growth and this causes them to become tender.

Inflammation occurs at the point where the Achilles tendon is attached to the heel.

Sever-Disease anatomy

What causes it?

children running

Young athletes typically sustain the injury due to repeated stress caused by running and jumping. Taking part in any high speed sports can therefore partly provoke the condition.

Crucially the injury is linked to overuse, so exercising with fatigued leg muscles, without a suitable warm up, or beginning a new physical activity are all risk factors. Placing excessive weight or pressure on the heel can also cause the injury.

Another factor related to Severs disease is over-pronation, a biomechanical abnormality that makes the foot roll too far inwards.



What will happen if I leave it untreated?

The quicker the Severs Disease is treated the quicker the recovery is. If you leave it untreated there can be further problems for your child later in life. It can also be a very painful condition and would make the easiest of tasks uncomfortable for your child. Many patients are able to return to physical activity without any further problems once the pain  and any other symptoms have ceased.


What can help?

child foot mum

The use of an ice pack after activity for 20mins is often useful for severs disease – this should be repeated 2 to 3 times a day. It may also be recommended that your child cuts down or stops any activity that is causing the heel pain.


What are the treatment options?

The main treatment for Severs Disease is rest. At Mespil Foot & Ankle Clinic our Podiatrists may recommend that your child cuts down or stops any activity that may be aggravating the condition.

  • Elevating and applying ice to the foot can reduce pain and swelling.
  • Exercises to stretch and strengthen the leg muscles and tendons can also help.
  • Massage along the achilles tendon
  • New warm up and exercise regime which can be carried out as a game while playing.

Your Podiatrist may make recommendations on the type of footwear for your child to help prevent a recurrence of the symptoms.

If your child has a high arch, flat feet or bowed legs, the Podiatrist may recommend orthotics. 

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