Sever’s disease is a painful bone disorder that causes heel pain and inflammation of the growth plate in the heel. It has a higher prevalence in males. A growth plate is an area at the end of a developing bone where cartilage cells change over time into bone cells.
It commonly occurs during the growth spurt of adolescence, between the ages of 8 to 14 especially in physically active children who play a lot of sport that involves running and jumping. Often children at risk for developing this condition present with either a flat or high arched feet, poor- fitting shoes, one leg is shorter than the other, or weight gain and obesity.
The line of ossification in the growth plate of the heel is thought to develop micro-fractures due to recurrent stresses on the heel, combined with the growth spurt of puberty. This results in heel pain and mild swelling in the back of the heel bone. It is relieved with rest and often occurs in both heels. Rarely causes long-term problems.
Based on the findings a combination of treatment options may be prescribed including:
- Rest and Ice – keeping off the foot and reducing activity prevents further injury and encourages healing. Ice can reduce inflammation, swelling and symptoms.
- Footwear recommendations.
- Short-term rest from sports.
- Custom orthotics.
- Heel raises.
- Prescribed stretches for the calf and/or hamstring muscles.
It is important that this condition is diagnosed early to prevent Sever’s Disease from becoming debilitating and requiring complete rest from sporting activities.