Sever?s disease a term used to describe pain in the heel at the base of the Achilles tendon. It usually occurs during or after a growth spurt in adolescence most commonly between the ages of 8-13 in
girls and 10-15 for boys. Sever?s disease is more prevalent in children who are physically active. Those with Sever?s disease commonly experience pain during or after sports that involve running and
jumping, especially those that take place on hard surfaces.
The cause of the pain in Severs disease is thought to be the tractional forces applied to the growth plate of the heel bone by the Achilles tendon at the rear of the heel bone and the plantar fascia
just beneath 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
The most common symptoms of Sever?s involves pain or tenderness in one or both heels. This pain usually occurs at the back of the heel, but can also extend to the sides and bottom of the heel. A
child with Sever?s may also have these common problems, Heel pain with limping, especially after running. Difficulty walking, Discomfort or stiffness in the feet upon awaking. Swelling and redness in
the heel, Symptoms are usually worse during or after activity and get better with rest.
You may have pain when your doctor squeezes your heel bone. You may have pain when asked to stand or walk on your toes or on your heels. You may have pain in your heel when your doctor stretches your
calf muscles. Your doctor may order x-rays of the injured foot to show an active growth plate.
Non Surgical Treatment
If your child is diagnosed with Sever's disease, treatment is fairly straightforward. He or she should avoid any activities that cause a flare-up of heel pain. Treat the pain with ice for 20 minutes,
three times a day. If the pain is severe, over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be used for a short period of time. (Don't use aspirin in a child or teen because it
can result in a rare but life-threatening condition called Reye's syndrome.) In some instances, a child might have other foot problems, as well, such as high arches, flat feet, or bowed legs. In
these instances, your doctor can recommend an orthotic device to help further prevent the pain related to Sever's disease. One other simple tip that can prevent Sever's disease or speed along
recovery is for your child to wear supportive shoes and avoid going barefoot as much as possible.
After the painful symptoms of Sever's disease have gone away, it is important to continue stretching the heel, particularly before a vigorous exercise, and wearing good supportive shoes fitted with
children's arch supports. This will prevent heel pain recurrence until the child's heel is fully developed and less prone to injury.