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Sever's Disease

What is Sever's disease?

Sever's disease is a condition characterized by pain in one or both heels with walking. The pain is caused by shortening of the heel-cord. It usually affects children between the ages of 10 and 13 years old. During this phase of life, growth of the bone is taking place at a faster rate than the tendons.

Sever's disease is also called calcaneal apophysitis.

Symptoms of Sever's disease

Some of the common symptoms of Sever's disease are:

  • Pain in one or both heels with running and walking.
  • The pain is originates from the point of the heel where the tendo-achilles inserts into the heel bone.
  • Heal pain that goes away when resting.
  • Swollen heal.
  • Calf muscle stiffness first thing in the morning.

What Causes Sever's disease?

The exact cause of Sever's disease is unknown. However, it is most likely due to overuse or repeated minor trauma to the cartilage in the heal that happens in a lot of sporting activities.

Can Sever's disease be Treated?

Yes. Treatment depends on the severity of the condition. Some common treatments include:

  • Rest
    • Avoid all sports and physical activities until the pain and swelling have eased.
  • Cold packs
    • Apply ice or cold packs to the backs of the heels for around 15 minutes after any physical activity, including walking.
  • Flexibility exercises
    • Slow and gentle leg stretches will help reduce muscle tension and contraction. Both legs should be exercised, even if Sever's disease seems to be confined to only one side.
  • Shoe inserts
    • Small heel inserts worn inside the shoes can take some of the traction pressure off the Achilles tendons.
  • Non-weight bearing exercise
    • After the severity of the symptoms decrease, non-weight bearing exercises that don't stress the heels can be introduced. Suggestions include swimming and cycling.
  • Medication
  • Splinting or casting
    • In severe cases, it may be necessary to immobilize the lower leg using a splint or cast.
  • Lose weight.
    • If the child is overweight, the extra weight will probably worsen the symptoms.


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