What is Severs Disease (Heel Pain in Children)?

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.

Severs is a disease that causes inflammation of the heel bone growth plate in children aged between 8 to 14 years.

This growth plate at the back of the heel is prone to injury as it is softer than the rest of the heel bone, until it hardens in adolescence.

Severs Disease (Heel Pain in Children) Snapshot

  • Commonly occurring in active children
  • Can be very painful
  • Hurts after sport
  • Easily treatable with conservative treatment
  • More common in males than females


Causes of Severs Disease

  • High impact sports
  • Running on hard surfaces
  • Overtraining and overactivity
  • Poor fitting shoes with minimal support
  • Tight calf muscles
  • Flat feet or tight plantar fascia bands


Severs Disease Symptoms

  • Limping, hobbling after sport or physical activity.
  • Localised redness, swelling and warmth at the back of the heel.
  • Complaining of sore heels at the end of activity.
  • Feels better with rest.


Treatment for Severs Disease

Severs Disease responds very well to treatment which includes a combination of:

  • Ice therapy
  • Anti-inflammatory pain relief if required.
  • Review of training surfaces.
  • Stretching exercises.
  • Temporary heel lift and heel cushioning pads.
  • Strapping.
  • Footwear review.
  • Foot orthoses if abnormal foot function is causing strain 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.

Well Heeled Podiatry specialises in Severs disease and children’s feet. Our podiatrists will be happy to assess your child’s feet give you solutions on how to manage this painful and often debilitating condition.


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