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Sever's Disease and Children/Adolescents

Sever’s Disease (Calcaneal Apophysitis) 

What is Sever’s disease?

Sever’s disease is a common cause of heel pain in young people who are physically active. Sever’s disease typically impacts people from ages 8-14. The underlying cause of Sever’s disease is theorised to be caused by multiple factors including overuse, increased body weight and excessive muscle strain on the growth plate of the heel bone . It is a self-limiting condition, meaning that symptoms often ease with time. However, there are many effective techniques to help manage the symptoms of Sever’s disease so that whoever is affected can continue to partake in physical activity. 

 

What are the signs and symptoms of Sever’s disease?

Some of the potential signs and symptoms that may indicate Sever’s disease in children include:

  • Pain at the back of your heel

  • Pain that gets worse during or immediately after activity

  • Pain that may cause limping to avoid placing pressure on the heel, particularly after sport or in the morning

  • Pain that resolves with rest

  • Tip-toeing

 

What causes Sever’s disease?

Sever’s disease can be caused by excessive muscular strain on the growth plate of the heel bone by the Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon is a thick tendon that attaches the calf to the heel bone at the back of your leg. Excessive amounts of strain and pressure can lead to pain and swelling in the growth plate at the back of the heel.  

In growing children, growth plates are weaker and more at risk of injury when in comparison to the rest of the fully formed bone. This is because growth plates are actually a thin layer of cartilage near the end of the bone and it is where most of the bone’s growth occurs. Sever’s disease should ultimately resolve once the growth plate of the heel stops growing.  

Not all children between the ages of 8 and 14 will develop heel pain, but factors such as tight calf muscles and inefficient foot function increase the likelihood of pain arising.

 

What management options are available?

Most conditions seen within a podiatry clinic have a range of treatment options. In the case of Sever’s disease, a most accurate approach would be to look at a range of management options as the bone needs time to form and this process cannot be rushed. 

Some of the commonly used management techniques used at Talaria Podiatrist include:

  • Footwear advice

  • Strengthening and stretching programs

  • Children's orthotics

  • Pain relief techniques

  • Strapping techniques for sport

 

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Do you think your child is suffering from this condition?

If your child is complaining of sore legs, feet, or if you have noticed that they are having difficulty walking in any way, we are able to help through an initial assessment. We are currently running FREE kids assessments!

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Through these assessments, our podiatrists have the ability to assess your child’s gait and feet, the biomechanics of their lower limbs and construct a treatment plan to monitor your child’s progression over time!