What is Severs disease?

Pain in the heel of children is not common, but when it does occur, the commonest cause is a condition referred to as Severs disease. It's not really a “disease”, but it's the name which has unfortunately stuck. It is actually properly known as calcaneal apophysitis. It is a issue in the growing region at the rear of the heel bone. Since it is a problem, of the growing bone, the condition is self-limiting and definately will no longer be a concern once the growth of that bone has finished. It is more common around the age groups of 10-12 years.

The typical sign of Severs disease are soreness on exercise and soreness on squeezing the sides of the back part of the heel. In the beginning the soreness is not that bad and will not affect activity very much, however later it will become more severe and impacts sports involvement and may also lead to limping. The exact cause of it is not clear, but it is clearly an too much use type problem since it is more common in kids who participate in more sport and more prevalent in those who have a higher bodyweight. Those with tight calf muscles can also be at a increased risk for the development of this condition.

Usually, the treatment of Severs disease is load management. The child is encouraged to remain active, but simply lessen activity levels to a level which can be coped with and not too uncomfortable. A shock absorbing heel pad in the footwear may be helpful to protect it. Ice soon after sport may also be helpful to help the symptoms. If the calves are tight, then a stretches ought to be started. Occasionally foot orthotics may help when the arch of the foot is overpronated. On rare occasions a brace may be used, and all sport stopped until it heals. By the mid-teens the growth plate that this takes place at combines with the rest of the heel bone, so this stops being an issue at those ages.

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