Sever's Disease, also known as calcaneal apophysitis, is a disease of the growth plate of the bone and is characterized by pain in the heel of a child's foot, typically brought on by some form of
injury or trauma. This condition is most common in children ages 10 to 15 and is frequently seen in active soccer, football, or baseball players. Sport shoes with cleats are also known to aggravate
the condition. The disease mimics Achilles tendonitis, an inflammation of the tendon attached to the back of the heel. A tight Achilles tendon contributes to Sever's Disease by pulling excessively on
the growth plate of the heel bone (calcaneus). Treatment includes cutting back on sports activities, calf muscle stretching exercises, heel cushions in the shoes, icing, and/or anti-inflammatory
medications. Note: Please consult your physician before taking any medications.
Sever?s disease only occurs during a certain period of pre-adolescence, when the heel bone is going through a rapid growth spurt. In girls, this typically occurs around 8 to 10 years of age, and in
boys, between ages 10 and 13. Sever?s disease is more common in active, athletic children. The condition is difficult to prevent completely, but changing the type and amount of physical activity when
your child is experiencing pain will help.
The condition can be quite disabling and tends to affect those who are very busy with sporting activities. In the initial stages of the condition, most children displaying signs of Severs disease
will tend to hobble or limp off the sports field or court and complain of sore heels near the end of activity. As the condition progresses, children may complain of pain during activity and in severe
cases prior to sporting activities. Kids heel pain can be quite discouraging for active children but, early treatment can resolve this type of foot pain in children very quickly.
Sever condition is diagnosed by detecting the characteristic symptoms and signs above in the older children, particularly boys between 8 and 15 years of age. Sometimes X-ray testing can be helpful as
it can occasionally demonstrate irregularity of the calcaneus bone at the point where the Achilles tendon attaches.
Non Surgical Treatment
The good news is that the condition doesn?t cause any long-term foot problems. Symptoms typically go away after a few months. The best treatment is simply rest. Your child will need to stop or cut
down on sports until the pain gets better. When she's well enough to return to her sport, have her build up her playing time gradually. Your doctor may also recommend ice packs or nonsteroidal
anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen, to relieve the pain. Supportive shoes and inserts that reduce stress on the heel bone. These can help if your child has another foot
problem that aggravates Sever?s disease, such as flat feet or high arches. Stretching and strengthening exercises, perhaps with the help of a physical therapist. In severe cases, your child may need
a cast so her heel is forced to rest.
With proper care, your child should feel better within 2 weeks to 2 months. Your child can start playing sports again only when the heel pain is gone. Your doctor will let you know when physical
activity is safe.