Sever’s Disease: What You Need to Know About Your Child’s Heel Pain

As parents, we always want to ensure our children lead happy and healthy lives. However, when your child complains of heel pain, it can be concerning and may leave you wondering about the possible causes. One condition that often goes unnoticed is Sever’s disease. In this blog, we will explore what Sever’s disease is, its causes, symptoms, and how to manage this common condition affecting children’s heels.

What is Sever’s Disease?

Sever’s disease, also known as calcaneal apophysitis, is not an actual disease but rather a growth-related condition that affects the heel. It occurs when the growth plate in the heel, called the calcaneal apophysis, becomes inflamed. This condition is most common in children and adolescents, typically between the ages of 8 and 15, during a period of rapid growth.

Full body of child injured at heel. Isolated on white background

Causes of Sever’s Disease

The primary cause of Sever’s disease is the mismatch between the growth of the bones and the tightness of the Achilles tendon. During periods of rapid growth, the heel bone may grow faster than the muscles and tendons, causing tension and stress on the growth plate. This condition is often associated with physical activities that involve repetitive stress on the heel, such as running, jumping, or sports like soccer and basketball.

In addition to growth spurts and increased physical activity, other factors may contribute to the development of Sever’s disease. Flat feet or high arches, tight calf muscles, and improper footwear with inadequate support can also increase the risk of this condition. Understanding these contributing factors is crucial for effective prevention and management.

Symptoms of Sever’s Disease

Recognizing the symptoms of Sever’s disease is vital for early intervention and preventing further discomfort for your child. Common signs include:

  • Heel Pain: The most prevalent symptom is pain or tenderness in the heel, usually at the back or bottom.
  • Limping or Favoring One Foot: Children with Sever’s disease may limp or avoid putting weight on the affected foot to alleviate pain.
  • Swelling and Redness: Inflammation of the growth plate can lead to swelling and redness in the affected heel.
  • Discomfort During Physical Activity: Pain may intensify during or after activities like running or jumping, making it essential to observe your child’s behavior during and after physical exercise.
  • Stiffness in the Feet: Children may experience stiffness in the feet, particularly in the morning or after periods of inactivity.
group image of asian children having fun in the park

How to Manage Sever’s Disease

While Sever’s disease is a self-limiting condition that resolves with time, there are several strategies you can adopt to manage your child’s heel pain and facilitate a quicker recovery:

  • Rest and Modified Activity: Encourage your child to rest and reduce high-impact activities that exacerbate the pain. Swimming or cycling can be alternative, less stressful exercises during the recovery period.
  • Ice Application: Applying ice to the affected heel can help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. Make sure to use a cloth or towel to protect the skin and apply ice for about 15-20 minutes at a time.
  • Stretching Exercises: Incorporate gentle stretching exercises to improve flexibility in the calf muscles and Achilles tendon. Regular stretching can help reduce tension on the growth plate.
  • Supportive Footwear: Ensure your child wears supportive shoes with proper cushioning and arch support. Avoid shoes with inadequate support or excessive heel elevation.
  • Orthotic Inserts: In some cases, orthotic inserts or heel cups may be recommended to provide additional support and reduce strain on the growth plate.
  • Medical Consultation: If your child’s heel pain persists or worsens, schedule an appointment with our office. Our experienced team can provide a thorough examination and may recommend additional interventions such as physical therapy or anti-inflammatory medications.

Sever’s disease is a common and usually self-limiting condition that can cause temporary discomfort for children during periods of rapid growth. By understanding its causes, recognizing the symptoms, and implementing appropriate management strategies, parents can play a crucial role in ensuring their child’s comfort and promoting a smooth recovery. If in doubt, please contact our office to receive personalized guidance tailored to your child’s specific situation. Remember, early intervention and a holistic approach to care can make a significant difference in managing Sever’s disease and ensuring your child’s continued well-being.



7243 Chase Rd.
Dearborn, MI 48126


(313) 582-6222


Monday - Friday: 9am - 5pm


© Michigan Foot & Ankle Specialists. All Rights Reserved. | Privacy Policy.  Legal Disclaimer.

Web Design by CP Solutions. Marketed by VMD Services.