Sever’s Disease

aka calcaneal apophysitis

Commonly seen in children

Although Sever’s is termed a “disease” it is also referred to growing pains because it is usually associated with a growth spurt in a child. The condition is painful and can cause a lot of discomfort. It is not lasting and will usually heal within a few months, though it can reoccur until the heel is fully grown.

What is it?

Sever’s Disease is also known as Calcaneal Apophysitis. It most commonly occurs in growing, active children, usually boys ages 8 to 13 but can also been seen in active girls. The pain will occur at the apex of the heel where there is a growth plate at the insertion of the Achilles tendon. It is usually noticed around the time of a growth spurt. Sever’s disease can be very painful and make activity difficult. The pain occurs with activities such as running or even while standing, either in one heel or both simultaneously.

What Causes it?

Sever’s Disease develops when muscles and tendons are not able to keep up with the rapid growth of the heel bone. Because of this, inflammation, swelling, and tenderness occur in the area of the growth plate of the heel and cause pain. Athletics activities can aggravate the condition and even cause it to develop.

What Can I do?

If you think your child has Sever’s it is a good idea to get a doctors diagnosis to confirm this. If it is indeed Sever’s, the treatment will be similar to that of plantar fasciitis. The best way to relieve the pain is to reduce stress on the heel bone. The child will need good shoes with a firm heel counter, and either a heel lift or an orthoses can greatly help reduce the stress on the Achilles tendon. When choosing an insole, it is best to pick something with a firm heel cup in order to cradle the heel and stabilize it within the shoe.

Additional treatment may include stretching exercises, ice, and reduced activity until the pain subsides.

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