Severs Disease

I want to touch on a problem that commonly affects active and sporty children between the ages of 7-15, Severs Disease.   

Severs disease is also known as calcaneal apophysitis and is an inflammation of the growth plates at the back of the heel caused by repetitive overuse or repetitive trauma to the heel. Studies have found that this disease manifests commonly through growth spurts, affecting males at a higher rate compared to females. 

Symptoms are often characterised by heel pain which worsens with activity. Children might also complain of heel pain with any weight bearing activities, running, jumping, playing sports. Depending on the severity of the condition, a limp might also be noticed as well as some associated swelling in the heel.

Investigative scans like X-rays are not helpful to pinpoint this condition but can assist in ruling out other possible causes of heel pain. It is also important to note that this is not a dangerous condition and often resolves spontaneously as the child ages. Conservative treatment can involve ice, rest, taping, calf massage and change of footwear, heel raises or orthotics. 

If your son or daughter has been complaining of heel pain that is not resolving it might be a good idea to see a GP, or a physiotherapist to have them assessed and diagnosed.  

For more information see:

The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne factsheet