Child With Heel Pain? It Could Be Severs Disease

Aug 04, 2021
Is your child experiencing pain at the back of their heel? It may be Severs’ Disease.

While it's name sounds concerning, Severs’ Disease is a very easily treated condition and is more common than people think.


What Is Sever's Disease?

Severs’ Disease presents in children as a pain or tenderness in the back of the heel or leg and is aggravated by activity. It often occurs in both legs, but can also affect one worse than the other or even just one. It is no surprise that this is often seen in our clinic around September and October with kids heading back to school. Their increase in activity levels due to training starting back for their favourite sports and naturally an increase in activity as they play with their friends in the school yard. Also, activities on harder surfaces will increase this pain, for example not all school yards are tarmacadam, possibly contributing to this.


Top 3 Causes of Severs' Disease?
  1. Severs’ Disease is mainly caused by the child having a recent growth spurt, while the bones grow longer, the muscle, ligaments and tendons haven’t stretched fast enough to keep up, resulting in this pain. This condition is often seen more commonly in boys as they have a later growth spurt.
  2. Tightness in the calf muscles at the back of the leg can result in a pull on the heel bone where the muscle attaches to the bone.
  3. If your child has ‘flat feet’ this can contribute to excess pressure on the calf muscles adding to this pain.


How Can This Be Treated?

The good news about this condition is that with the correct treatment plan in place it can be easily resolved.

  • Firstly, the aim of the clinic would be to try and reduce the pain with the use of orthotics to offload the heel area. These insoles are usually a temporary solution and won’t need to be worn forever, but only until the problem has resolved.
  • Ibuprofen or any pain relief medication suited to the child may be used in times of very bad pain, but this will only mask the problem and not solve it as a long term solution.
  • Reducing activity levels is vital during this time to help the healing process. However, non-weight bearing exercises such as cycling or swimming can still be enjoyed.
  • Once the pain has subsided, the second aim would be to try elongate the muscle with a series of stretching and strengthening exercises to prevent it reoccurring as Severes’ Disease can be a reoccurring condition until the child has reached their full height.


If your child is experiencing any pains similar to these described here contact us, and one of our Podiatry team would be happy to help.

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