Severs disease

This blog discusses one of the multiple causes of heel pain but one of the most common seen in children.

Severs disease also known as Calcaneal Apophysitis is a painful inflammation of the heel’s growth plate seen in children. It generally affects children between the ages of 8 and 14 years old, because at this age the plate is quite spongy and easily aggravated.

I have found Severs disease typically coincides with a recent growth spurt where bone outgrows muscle causing increased tension and reduced flexibility through the calf and Achilles tendon which then pulls on the growth plate.

When there is too much repetitive stress on the under-developed growth plate, inflammation can occur.

Heel pain in children differs from the most common type of heel pain experienced by adults. While heel pain in adults usually subsides after a period of walking, paediatric heel pain generally doesn’t improve in this manner. In fact, walking typically makes the pain worse.

Sport and high level activity are the significant causes of Severs as they exert high level stress on the heel. Examples of sports/activity that involve high impact or repetition include:

  • Football
  • Netball
  • Basketball
  • Triple Jump
  • Gymnastics/Tumbling
  • Orienteering/long distance running/hiking

Other potential causes include obesity, tight calf muscles and therefore Achilles tendon, and biomechanical problems such as flatfoot or a high-arched foot.

Symptoms of severs include:

  • Bruised feeling in the heel
  • Limping
  • Walking on toes
  • Particular pain on high impact such as jumping
  • Pain when the sides of the heel are squeezed

These symptoms are seen in other conditions which must be ruled out by a Podiatrist that include calcaneal fracture, plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendinopathy amongst others

To ease the symptoms cease high level activity and commence daily icing, calf stretching and seek an podiatry appointment for accurate diagnosis, physical therapy (low level laser therapy) and possible insole/orthoses therapy amongst other advice.

Please also see this blog for commonly asked questions regarding children.

Please do not hesitate to contact The Footcare Centre via calling 01932 849373 or booking online with one of our podiatrists if your son or daughter is suffering with heel pain.

This has been written by Anuj Soni and is the opinion of the blogger and not necessarily The Footcare Centre LTD

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