Sever’s Disease: Heel Pain in Children

sever's disease

Sever’s disease, also known as calcaneal apophysitis, is the result of inflammation at the growth plate of the heel in maturing children. Children’s bones continue to grow until the growth plates completely ossify or become solid. Once the growth plates close, bones stop growing in length. The heel bone, also known as calcaneus, continues to develop until about age 15. An athletically active child, usually around 8-14 may develop Sever’s disease. Sever’s occurs due to the Achilles tendon pulling on the heel bone, causing inflammation at the growth plate.

Children may complain of heel pain, especially at the sides of the heel, that is worsened by running or standing on their tiptoes. Patients may also complain of warmth and swelling of the heel. Sever’s disease seems more prevalent in children that play soccer or basketball. The condition is also more common in young patients with tight calves, also known as equinus.

Your Columbus podiatrist may suggest X-rays just to rule out other causes of heel pain such as stress fractures or bone cysts. The condition is self-limiting and pain should subside once the growth plate fuses. If the child is experiencing ongoing pain, your podiatrist may recommend stretches for the calf muscles, heel pads, and splints. They may also suggest that your child limit physical activity and to rest for a period of time. NSAIDs and ice would be recommended for pain relief. In more severe cases, casting may be appropriate to immobilize and offload the area. Call our office today if you have questions or concerns about your child’s heel pain.

Please visit our website for more information or call 614-885-3338 (FEET) to schedule an appointment with us at our Columbus, Gahanna or Dublin, OH office.