Sever’s disease is a foot or ankle pain often seen in active children and can cause limping after and during sport. The heel bone becomes sore and inflamed at the heel bone growth plate at the back of the heel.
The cause of this heel pain is often a combination of overload, growth spurt and overuse on the growth plate of the heel. The Achilles tendon becomes irritated and inflamed at the heel bone growth plate, pronated feet (flatter foot arches) and tight calf muscles can also contribute to Sever’s disease heel pain.
Prognosis is good for Sever’s disease, as once the growth plate finishes growing in the heel bone the pain may resolve. It is still important to have your Podiatrist assess and treat this heel injury, to ensure your child’s pain is relieved and they continue to participate in their sport and daily activities.
Age groups with heel pain
Sever’s disease is most common in active kids aged 8 to 15. Quick growth spurts are often experienced during this heel pain, and more boys than girls experience Sever’s disease. Children that we have treated have experienced their pain whilst playing soccer, basketball, netball, tennis and football.
Initially a child will complain of soreness at their heels and may be limping. If the condition continues, they may experience pain during their sport especially when running. The more activity a child does, the greater their heel pain will be.
During our podiatry consultations, biomechanical assessment is completed along with physically testing the heel bone to see the extent of the pain. If needed, imaging such as X-rays can be referred for to allow accurate diagnoses.
Treatment can involve a combination of:
- Footwear Assessment
- Ice application prior to stretching and strengthening leg muscles
- Physical therapies to resolve inflammation
- Foot orthoses to wear in school and sport shoes to improve biomechanics at the heel and ankle
- Treatment program focusing on optimal loading on heel bone and leg muscles during activity
- Padding and strapping (to foot and footwear) to improve comfort and healing of the injured area.
Children may experience heel pain from ankle sprains, bursitis, tumors, tendinitis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis or stress fractures. It is helpful to see a Podiatrist and rule out these types of heel pain.
If your children are suffering from foot pain, we would love the opportunity to chat with you and suggest options to improve your child’s pain.