Severs disease...
heel pain in children

What Is Severs Disease?

Severs disease is a very common cause of kids heel pain. It can be described as painful inflammation of the growth plate of the heel bone in active children, most commonly between the ages of 8 and 15 years.

This part of the heel bone growth plate is called the calcaneal apophysis. Sometimes Sever's disease will also be referred to as calcaneal apophysitis which simply means inflammation of the calcaneal apophysis (i.e. heel growth plate).

J.W. Sever, MD, was the first person to describe this particular foot problem in the New York Medical Journal in 1912. Consequently, this heel pain condition was named after him.

Gavin Daly at Posture Podiatry has been treating heel pain in children since 1990 and uses a specific treatment program to help eliminate this common cause of foot pain within just a few weeks.

What Causes Sever's Disease?

The cause of this type of child heel pain with Severs disease is thought to be overuse from tractional forces applied to the growth plate by the achilles tendon at the rear insertion into the heel bone and the plantar fascia just underneath 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 far).

Who is Affected by Sever's Disease?

This condition most commonly affects children between the ages of 8 to 15 years.

This type of kids heel pain can be quite disabling and tends to affect those children who are very busy with sporting activities. Children will commonly complain of pain after football, soccer, basketball, netball and/or tennis.

In the initial stages of the condition, most children displaying signs of Sever's disease will tend to "hobble or limp" off the sports field or sports court and complain of sore heels near the end of activity.

As the condition progresses, children may complain of pain during activity and in severe cases prior to sporting activities.

Posture Podiatry
58 North Terrace KENT TOWN SA 5067

Ph: (08) 8362 5900

"Posture Podiatry - Proudly South Australian Owned & Operated"


What is the best Sever's Disease Treatment?

The good news is that this heel pain in children is very simple to treat and children usually respond very quickly to treatment once treatment of Severs disease commences.

Gavin Daly has been treating heel pain in children for over 29 years and has developed a specific treatment regime designed to help eliminate this common cause of foot pain within just a few weeks. Gavin now collaborates with the Adelaide Podiatrists at Posture Podiatry to share his findings on how to obtain the fastest possible heel pain relief.

When this condition affects both feet, the diagnosis can usually be made clinically. If only one foot is affected then x-rays should always be considered an integral part of establishing an accurate diagnosis. X-rays should be taken of both feet even when only one foot or heel is painful.

This is important to ensure serious problems such as bone infection or bone tumours are not overlooked. Even in cases where both feet have been affected, x-rays or MRI scans should be carried out if a child is failing to respond to conservative treatment.

Treatment of Sever's disease usually involves a combination of:

  • Ice after activity
  • Advice on training errors and / or activity review
  • Review of training surfaces
  • Specialised shoe inserts and/or modifications
  • Specific stretching and strengthening exercises
  • Orthotic inserts with specific Sever's disease modifications may be needed where the tractional forces on the heel growth plates need to be reduced
  • Anti-inflammatory measures
  • Footwear review, assessment and advice

In severe cases one needs to consider modifications to sporting activity levels as it is aggravated by overuse. 

Treatment of Sever's disease does NOT require surgery. This foot condition responds very well to conservative treatment within a matter of weeks only. 

If your child suffers from heel pain, be sure to get them checked out especially when only one foot is affected.

Click here for more information on Severs disease and foot pain 

WARNING : This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace professional podiatric advice. Treatment will vary between individuals depending upon your diagnosis and presenting complaint. An accurate diagnosis can only be made following personal consultation with a Podiatrist, your Doctor or your foot specialist. 

Posture Podiatry
58 North Terrace KENT TOWN SA 5067

Ph: (08) 8362 5900

"Posture Podiatry - Proudly South Australian Owned & Operated"


Still have a question about your foot problem, leg pain or you just need some footwear advice?

Visit our Foot Problems page and ask us a question about your specific problem below. We'll do our best to help.

Contact Posture Podiatry if you need a Podiatrist for your child's heel pain.

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What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Severs Disease Question... 
Question: I have a 12 year old son who 2 years ago tore his achilles when he fell off his bike. His heel has never been the same since but 8 weeks …

Severs Disease Question Not rated yet
My grandson suffers with very painful heels underneath the foot He has been told thats its called Sevvers desease. i don't even know how to spell it. …

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