Sever's Disease

What Is Sever’s Disease?

Sever’s Disease is a common foot concern found in children. This can affect active, healthy children and causes pain in one or both heels. It is most likely that pain will occur after walking, running or engaging in physical activity. Sever’s disease can cause swelling and irritation, primarily on the underside or the back of the heel.

Sever’s Disease is also called calcaneal apophysitis. The calcaneal is the heel bone and apophysitis means painful inflammation of the plate of the foot. Sever’s is commonly recorded in children aged 8 – 14 year olds.

See Our Insoles

Symptoms and Causes of Sever’s Disease?

Foot pain, and even lower leg or knee pain is extremely common in children or adolescents, due to the fact that they are constantly growing. In most children, the heel bone (calcaneus) is not fully developed until the age of 14 or older. Until then, new bone is forming at the growth plate of the foot (the apophysis, located at the back of the heel), an area which is softer than others due to its role in accommodating the growth.

Repetitive stress on the growth plate due to walking, running and sports causes inflammation in the heel area. Because the heel's growth plate is sensitive, repeated running and pounding on hard surfaces can result in paediatric heel pain. Children and adolescents who take part in a lot of sport are especially vulnerable. Over-pronation (fallen arches and rolling inwards of the feet) will increase the impact on the growth plate and is therefore a significant cause and a major contributing factor to heel pain in children. Symptoms of Sever’s Disease includes:

  • Swelling
  • Obvious redness and heat in the heel
  • Limping or avoiding putting weight on the feet
  • Pain in the heel

Sever’s Disease is a misnomer. Although it is referenced as a disease, it is not contagious.

How To Treat Sever’s Disease?

Depending on the Podiatrist's diagnosis and the severity of the pain, there are several options for Sever’s Disease treatments, including:

  • Rest/reduced activity: your child should reduce or stop any activity that causes pain, such as sports and running. This can be a difficult option, as children are normally quite wilful in pursuit of their favourite pastimes!
  • Over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen (found in Nurofen), to help reduce pain and inflammation. It is best to avoid medication wherever possible, as tolerance, particularly in children can build up. Integrate natural anti-inflammatory creams with standard medication, such as First Honey
  • Conditioning exercises can also help to combat the progression of Sever’s Disease. These can be practiced before physical activity, sport and play. Sever’s Disease exercises are designed to strengthen the plantar fascia This will reduce the experience of pain in the heel.
  • The use of orthotic inserts. FootActive Kids orthotics are made for children, for shoe sizes 11-13 and 1-2½. They will help properly support the foot, help prevent over-pronation or improper gait, restoring your child's foot to the correct biomechanical position. For shoe sizes above 2½ we recommend our adult medical ¾ length range, available from size 3 upwards. If you are in any doubt or your child's foot pain persists then please arrange an appointment with a Podiatrist or Physiotherapist.

For more information on how to support your child with Sever’s Disease or advice before you buy our podiatrist-approved shoe inserts, contact the team at FootActive today!

Sever’s Disease FAQs

What is Sever’s disease?

  • Despite its name, Sever’s disease isn’t actually a disease. It’s a type of heel injury that can occur during a growth spurt. Children between the ages of around 8 and 15 are the most likely to be affected by Sever’s disease.

 

What causes Sever’s disease?

  • During a growth spurt the muscles, tendons, bones and ligaments grow at completely different rates. As the heel bone (or growth plate) gets larger, it becomes more sensitive and the surrounding muscles and tendons stretch tighter than their current size. This causes pain and discomfort to the heel area. With children active in sport, the already sensitive area may receive extra strain and can cause swelling and higher levels of pain.

 

What are the symptoms of Sever’s disease?

  • Pain and swelling in one or both of the heels, usually with signs of redness.
  • A tender and tight sensation along the back of the heels that worsens when squeezed
  • Walking or running on tip toes, with a limp or trouble in general.
  • Heel pain that worsens after physical activity but gets better after rest.

 

How long does Sever’s disease last?

  • Unfortunately, there is no set answer for how long Sever’s disease can last. Sufferers can expect a recovery time of around 2 to 8 weeks, depending on the amount of treatment being applied.

 

What is the fastest way to cure Sever’s disease?

  • The best kind of treatment for Sever’s disease is rest. It is important that your child reduces or stops excessive physical activity during their recovery process. If necessary, use ice packs and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen to alleviate pain. When the condition becomes better, make sure that your child eases back into sport and activities gradually to avoid further damage.
  • Supportive footwear or insoles can greatly reduce stress on the heel bone and aid the recovery process further.
  • Different types of stretching exercises can also help.
  • In extreme cases your child may require a cast to force the heel to rest.

 

How can insoles help Sever’s disease?

  • FootActive Kids orthotic insoles (up to size 2 ½) are available in a full-length and ¾ length variation and are designed to restore your child’s foot to their natural biomechanical position to support and reduce strain. Our arch support relieves pain and absorbs shock in the heel, promoting a speedy recovery from Sever’s disease.
Recommended Products
View as Grid List

3 Items

per page
Set Descending Direction
View as Grid List

3 Items

per page
Set Descending Direction