Sever’s Disease

Sever’s disease is a painful swelling and irritation of the growth plate in the heel. The growth plate is a layer of cartilage where new bone forms. Because this area is weaker than the rest of the bone, overuse and excessive pressure on the heel can result in pain and tenderness in one or both heels. Sever’s disease is most common in children ages nine to fourteen.


Sever’s disease usually occurs during growth spurts when bones, muscles, and tendons are growing at different rates. Tightened muscles and tendons can pull on the growth plate in the heel, causing pain and irritation. There are a number of factors that may lead to Sever’s disease, including sports activity, obesity, flat shoes, flatfoot, and high arches.


Pain and tenderness in one or both heels are the primary symptoms of Sever’s disease. Stiffness in the feet after waking up, limping, and discomfort when the heel is squeezed are also common.


Physicians will assess symptoms and medical history to diagnose Sever’s disease. They will also conduct a physical exam of the heel. Sever’s disease cannot be detected with testing or x-rays.


With proper treatment Sever’s disease will go away after a few months and does not cause long-lasting damage. Physicians will recommend rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medications, and supportive shoes or orthotic devices. In some cases, a cast or walking boot may be required until symptoms improve.

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