Severs Disease and child heel pain
in Toronto, Mississauga and Brampton

What Is Severs Disease?

Severs disease is painful inflammation of the growth plate of the heel bone. This part of the heel bone is called the calcaneal apophysis. Sometimes Sever's disease will also be referred to as calcaneal apophysitis which simply means inflammation of the calcaneal apophysis (i.e. heel growth plate).

J.W. Sever, MD, was the first person to describe this particular foot problem in the New York Medical Journal in 1912. Consequently, this heel pain condition was named after him.

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What Causes Sever's Disease?

The cause of the pain in Severs disease is thought to be the tractional forces applied to the growth plate by the Achilles tendon at the insertion into the heel bone.

This pulling force by the Achilles tendon on the growth plate is often aggravated by tight calf muscles and excessively pronated feet (i.e. feet that "roll in" too far).

Who is Affected by Sever's Disease?

This condition most commonly affects children between the ages of 8 to 14 years.

The condition can be quite disabling and tends to affect those who are very busy with sporting activities.

In the initial stages of the condition most children displaying signs of Sever's disease will tend to hobble or limp off the sports field or sports court and complain of sore heels near the end of activity.

As the condition progresses, children may complain of pain during activity and in severe cases prior to sporting activities.

Treatment of Sever's Disease?

The good news is that this heel pain in children is very simple to treat and children usually respond very quickly to treatment once treatment of Severs disease commences.

When this condition affects both feet, often the diagnosis can be made clinically. If only one foot is affected then x-rays should always be taken of both feet.

This is to ensure serious problems such as bone infection or bone tumours are not overlooked. Even in cases where both feet have been affected, x-rays or MRI scans should be carried out if a child is failing to respond to conservative treatment.

Treatment of Sever's disease usually involves a combination of:

In severe cases one needs to consider modifications to sporting activity levels as it is aggravated by overuse.

Treatment of Sever's disease does NOT require surgery. This foot condition responds very well to conservative treatment within a matter of weeks only.

If your child suffers from heel pain, get them checked out especially when only one foot is affected.