Sever’s disease is a condition that commonly effects children between the ages 8-14 (more prevalent in boys) and usually presents as heel pain. The heel pain is believed to be caused by impact forces on the growth plate in calcaneus (heel) bone and/or traction forces from a tight Achilles tendon pulling on the calcaneal bone distracting the growth plate apart.
Generally the child will present with a limp on the effected side and complain of pain during and after sport. Usually the longer the child is playing sport for, the worse the pain will get. It is most commonly seen in children participating in running activities such as football or soccer.
Studies have shown that if your child has had a recent growth spurt, has flat feet or tight calf muscles this will put them at higher risk. Footwear can also increase your child’s risk of developing Sever’s disease, especially if they participate in football or soccer.
It can usually be managed by you and your podiatrist and is a self-limiting condition meaning there is no long term complications. Management can be achieved through load management, RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation), stretching, footwear modifications, heel inserts and orthotics if indicated.
Imaging (X-Rays) is not usually warranted unless your podiatrist is suspicious of further damage – e.g. Calcaneal Fracture.
After management symptoms should reduce in the first 2-4 weeks. The aim of treatment is to allow your child to continue their sporting commitments without any pain or reduction in performance.