Sever's disease is a disorder that commonly occurs in active children between the ages of 9 and 13 years of age. Even though it is misnamed as a disease, it is actually a self-limiting disorder that
occurs around the growth plate in the back of the heel. The Achilles tendon attaches to the upper portion of the heel growth plate. On the bottom of the growth plate is an attachment of a ligament
known as the plantar fascia. With increased activity, there is a pulling or tugging that occurs on this growth plate, and a portion of the growth plate is being pulled away from its attachment to the
heel. X-rays are often taken to verify the position and location of this growth plate.
Your child is most at risk for this condition when he or she is in the early part of the growth spurt in early puberty. Sever's disease is most common in physically active girls 8 years to 10 years
of age and in physically active boys 10 years to 12 years of age. Soccer players and gymnasts often get Sever's disease, but children who do any running or jumping activity may also be at an
increased risk. Sever's disease rarely occurs in older teenagers because the back of the heel has typically finished growing by 15 years of age.
Most children with Sever's complain of pain in the heel that occurs during or after activity (typically running or jumping) and is usually relieved by rest. The pain may be worse when wearing cleats.
Sixty percent of children's with Sever's report experiencing pain in both heels.
Sever?s disease can be diagnosed based on your history and symptoms. Clinically, your physiotherapist will perform a "squeeze test" and some other tests to confirm the diagnosis. Some children suffer
Sever?s disease even though they do less exercise than other. This indicates that it is not just training volume that is at play. Foot and leg biomechanics are a predisposing factor. The main factors
thought to predispose a child to Sever?s disease include a decrease in ankle dorsiflexion, abnormal hind foot motion eg overpronation or supination, tight calf muscles, excessive weight-bearing
activities eg running.
Non Surgical Treatment
Treatment of Severs disease usually involves a combination of an accurate analysis of your child?s gait, muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints is a crucial first step. Specific stretching and
strengthening exercises often make up part of the treatment. Anti-inflammatory measures such as ice baths after exercise can be helpful in the short term. Footwear review, assessment and advice is
important. Orthotic devices are often needed to firstly control any abnormal traction or tension on the heel growth plate and, secondly, too unload the ground reaction forces on the heel bone.
Podiatry Care has podiatrists with specific paediatric training enabling them to utilise treatment options to relieve heel pain in children very quickly. If your child is struggling to play sport,
see a Podiatry Care podiatrist near you. In severe cases modification to activity levels may be required. Treatment of Severs disease does NOT require surgery. This foot condition responds very well
to conservative treatment.
Sever?s disease is self-recovering, meaning that it will go away on its own when the foot is used less or when the bone is through growing. The condition is not expected to create any long-term
disability, and expected to subside in 2-8 weeks. Some orthopedic surgeons will put the affected foot in a cast to immobilize it. While symptoms can resolve quickly, they can recur. Sever's disease
is more common in boys than girls the average age of symptom onset is nine to eleven years.