Sever’s Disease (Calcaneal Apophysitis)

Overview

This isn’t a true disease, it’s a painful heel condition that affects growing children. It’s an inflammation of the growth plate in the heel bone (called the “calcaneus”). Growth plates are places where new bone forms as bones grow and lengthen.

Causes

Sever’s disease is caused by repetitive stress of the heel. Running and jumping sports like soccer, track and basketball can cause it. But it can happen to less active children, too. Obesity raises your risk. So does wearing flat shoes. And it can be linked to problems like a tight Achilles tendon, flatfoot or high arches.

Symptoms

Sever’s disease causes pain and tenderness on the back or underside of your heel. The sides of your heel may hurt when squeezed. And, you may notice some mild swelling. Sever’s disease can affect one or both feet. It can cause you to limp or walk on your toes. And it makes it hard for you to take part in athletic activities.

Treatment

Treatment options include rest, supportive shoes, and shoe inserts or orthotic devices. Medications may help. You may benefit from physical therapy. Some people need to wear a cast or a walking boot while the foot gets better. Your healthcare provider will create a plan that’s right for you.