What is Sever’s Disease

Sever's disease - the growth plateSever’s Disease (or calcaneal apophysitis) is a condition that affects the growth plate (apophysis) in your child’s heel (calcaneus). It usually affects kids between the ages of 8 and 15, when this growth plate is active and going through its final stages of development, although it has been reported in kids as young as 5.

Due to its location on the very back of the heel, and with a strong (and often tight) Achilles tendon attaching to it, this growth plate is susceptible to irritation and inflammation. If this occurs, your child may complain of heel pain, that can worsen with running and other physical activities and can result in them limping. The pain normally settles after some rest, however, when it is bad, the pain can also affect everyday activities such as walking.

It is quite common in active kids, particularly those participating in sports such as football, gymnastics, tennis, running and ballet.[1]  However, it can also affect less active kids and children who are overweight.

What causes Sever’s Disease

Sever’s disease is due to inflammation of the growth plate at the back of the heel. Contributing factors include:

  • Flat feet
  • High arch feet
  • Tight Achilles tendon
  • Certain sports such as football, gymnastics and ballet where the footwear is often very flat and activities with high impact
  • Excessive weight
  • Standing or walking for prolonged periods on hard surfaces
  • Non-supportive footwear with inadequate cushioning

At FootMotion, we use our extensive clinical experience and state-of the-art technology to properly diagnose your child’s foot pain, carry out a biomechanical assessment to accurately assess their foot function and create an evidence-based treatment plan to effectively manage their condition.

How can Sever’s disease be treated?

While your child will eventually grow out of having Sever’s disease, it may take a prolonged period and can significantly reduce their activity levels and impact their quality of life [2] during that time. A tailored treatment programme can effectively reduce their pain and allow them to participate in sports and play. This may include:

  • icing, massage and rest
  • stretching and strengthening exercises
  • strapping
  • heel raises [3]
  • supportive, well-cushioned footwear
  • arch supports or prescription orthoses

References

  1. Hendrix, C.L., Calcaneal apophysitis (Sever disease). Clinics in Podiatric Medicine and Surgery, 2005. 22(1): p. 55.
  2. Scharfbillig, R.W., S. Jones, and S. Scutter, Sever’s disease–does it effect quality of life? Foot (Edinburgh, Scotland), 2009. 19(1): p. 36-43.
  3. Wiegerinck, J.I., et al., Treatment of Calcaneal Apophysitis: Wait and See Versus Orthotic Device Versus Physical Therapy: A Pragmatic Therapeutic Randomized Clinical Trial. Journal Of Pediatric Orthopedics, 2016. 36(2): p. 152-157.