Updated: Mar 28, 2021
Sever’s disease (or the more technical name, calcaneal apophysitis) is a condition which can affect children between the ages of 8 to 14 years old. Sever’s disease presents as pain in the heel, often during and after sports, ranging from mild discomfort to severe pain. Despite sounding scary, Sever’s disease is quite easily managed to ensure your child can continue with the sports they love.
What is Sever’s disease?
Sever’s disease is the inflammation of the growth plate in the calcaneus (heel bone). This occurs due to traction of the Achilles’ tendon on the calcaneus, effectively pulling the bone apart at the growth plate. This traction increases with higher levels of activity, hence why the pain is most commonly reported during and after sports.
Tightness in the calf muscle can increase the amount of traction on the heel bone, increasing pain. This is very common after a recent growth spurt in which the bones grow while the muscles and connective tissue take a little longer to stretch. Flat feet can also increase the forces placed on the Achilles’ tendon and subsequently increase pain through the heel.
How to treat Sever’s Disease
The good news is that Sever’s disease will not cause lasting damage to your child. The bad news is that it can be very painful until the heel bone growth plate fuses without proper intervention. At My Family Podiatry, we treat Sever’s disease using a combination of:
Custom foot orthotics: Orthotics will often be used to deload the tissues through the foot. This can include a heel raise and arch support to decrease the tension placed on the Achilles’s tendon.
Massage: Using massage techniques, we can work to decrease the tension in the calf muscles to reduce the force on the heel.
Ice and anti-inflammatories: Applying ice to the heel after exercise can help in easing some of the pain your child may be experiencing. Oral anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen can be beneficial in easing some of the pain though always speak to a GP before taking any oral medications.
Once pain levels have reduced, we would work to increase the range of the calf muscles through a stretching and strengthening regime.
If heel pain is affecting your child’s ability to enjoy sports and you are concerned it may be Sever’s disease, contact My Family Podiatry to discuss how we can help. Call 07 3088 6116 for more information or click the button above to book an appointment!