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.
Physically active children run the risk of developing Sever?s disease because they put the most strain on their growing bones. Sever?s usually occurs during the adolescent growth spurt, when young
people grow most rapidly. (This growth spurt can begin any time between the ages of 8 and 13 for girls and 10 and 15 for boys.) By age 15 the back of the heel usually finished growing. As teens grow,
the growth plates harden and the growing bones fuse together into mature bone. Young people engaged in physical activities and sports that involve jumping and running on hard surfaces-such as track,
basketball, soccer, and gymnastics-are ata higher risk for developing Sever?s disease. Poor-fitting shoes can contribute by not providing enough support or padding for the feet or by rubbing against
the back of the heel.
Sever's disease causes pain and tenderness in the back and bottom of the heel when walking or standing, and the heel is painful when touched. It can occur in one or both feet.
Your Podiatrist or Physiotherapist will assist in diagnosing the injury and the extent of the damage. From this, they will develop a management plan which may include rest or activity modification,
soft tissue treatment such as massage and stretching, correction of biomechanics through heel raises or orthoses and the progression through a series of specific strengthening exercises.
Non Surgical Treatment
stretching exercises can help. It is important that your child performs exercises to stretch the hamstring and calf muscles, and the tendons on the back of the leg. The child should do these
stretches 2 or 3 times a day. Each stretch should be held for about 20 seconds. Both legs should be stretched, even if the pain is only in 1 heel. Your child also needs to do exercises to strengthen
the muscles on the front of the shin. To do this, your child should sit on the floor, keeping his or her hurt leg straight. One end of a bungee cord or piece of rubber tubing is hooked around a table
leg. The other end is hitched around the child's toes. The child then scoots back just far enough to stretch the cord. Next, the child slowly bends the foot toward his or her body. When the child
cannot bend the foot any closer, he or she slowly points the foot in the opposite direction (toward the table). This exercise (15 repetitions of "foot curling") should be done about 3 times. The
child should do this exercise routine a few times daily.
The condition is normally self-limiting, and a return to normal activities is usually possible after a period of 2-3 months. In one study, all the patients treated with a physiotherapy programme
(above) improved and could return to their sport of choice after two months of treatment. The condition may recur, although recurrence was uncommon, according to one study.