Severs Disease, also known as Calcaneal Apophysitis, is one of the most common causes of heel pain in children, particularly those who are very active and involved in sport. Sever’s is a disease that causes inflammation of the heel bone growth plate in children aged between 8 to 14 years.
The growth plate at the back of the heel is prone to injury as it is still softer than the rest of the heel bone, until it hardens in adolescence.
Causes of Severs Disease (Heel Pain in Children):
- Tight calf muscles.
- Excessively pronated feet (feet that “roll in” too far).
- Flat feet/ high arched feet.
Symptoms of Severs Disease (Heel Pain in Children):
- Limping, hobbling after sport or physical activity.
- May be localised redness, swelling and warmth at the back of the heel.
- Complaining of sore heels at the end of activity.
Treatment for Severs Disease (Heel Pain in Children):
Severs Disease responds very well to treatment which includes a combination of:
- Ice therapy, activity review and / or modification.
- Anti-inflammatory pain relief if required.
- Review of training surfaces.
- Stretching exercises.
- Temporary heel lift/ heel cushioning pads.
- Temporary strapping.
- Footwear review.
- Foot orthoses if abnormal foot function is causing excessive traction on the heel growth plate.
- Time as the growth plate will fuse and the condition will resolve around 16 years.
Treatment of Severs disease does not require surgery. This foot condition generally responds very well to conservative treatment.
It is important to get your child assessed by a podiatrist if they are experiencing heel, foot or lower limb pain. If they do not respond to conservative treatment it is important to have your podiatrist undertake an X-ray to ensure no serious problem such as a bone infection or bone tumour are overlooked.