Sever’s disease also called calcaneal apophysitis is a common childhood condition; it is a painful bone disorder that results from inflammation (swelling) of the growth plate in the heel.
Sever’s disease is especially common in active children, it usually occurs during periods of rapid growth around adolescence, commonly between the ages of 8-13 years for girls and 10-15 years for boys. During the growth spurt of early puberty, the bones of the leg and calcaneus or heel bone sometimes grows faster than the leg muscles and tendons, causing the Achilles tendon to become tight which places pressure on the growth plate in the heel. Over time the repeated stress or pull damages the growth plate, causing swelling, tenderness and pain. The condition can be so debilitating that children are unable to continue to play sport or walk without a limp.
The most obvious sign of Sever’s disease is pain and tenderness in one or both heels, especially after activity, the pain may also extend to the sides and bottom of the heel and near the arch of the foot. Kids will typically limp and alter their gait (walk on toes) to avoid putting pressure on the heel. Although Sever’s disease can occur in any child, the following conditions can increase the likelihood of it occurring: flat or high arched feet, pronated gait pattern, muscle imbalances, obesity and overtraining.
The Podiatrists at Foot Focus are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of Sever’s disease with over 20 years of experience in this field. The immediate goal of treatment is pain relief, and a return to the sporting activities kids love to play. Treatment may include: exercises, stretches, footwear advice, heel raises and orthotics.