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When children experience growth spurts, growing pains often follow. Many of these growing pains manifest as aches and cramps in the legs. When pain is localized in the heel, the pain is known as Sever’s Disease or Sever Disease.

Despite its name, Sever’s Disease (calcaneal apophysitis) is not a disease at all. It’s heel pain caused by inflammation of the growth plate of the heel bone (apophysis). The inflammation results from the heel bone growing faster than other tendons, ligaments, and muscles in the leg. The tendons, ligaments, and muscles are therefore stretched too tight. The inflammation flares up at the place where the tendons attach to the rapidly growing heel bone.

Sever’s Disease is most likely to affect highly active children and young athletes between the age of 8-14. It is more common in males than females. Children with undiagnosed Sever’s Disease may report pain including tenderness, redness, swelling, and tightness in the back of the heel. They may have trouble walking. Young athletes may find the pain is worse after activity, and better after rest.

The good news is that Sever’s Disease is treated non-surgically, and rarely results in lasting damage. Rest, and anti-inflammatory medications are first line treatments. Additional treatments focus on the biomechanical changes resulting from growth. These treatments may include special exercises with or without the aid of a physical therapist. Custom shoe supports and orthotics that lift the heel also provide relief. In very rare, and very severe cases casting may be required to allow the heel to rest.

For an appointment with one of our expert and caring podiatrists, please call 614-239-9444 or Contact Us Here