Severs Disease

Signs & Symptons

Sever's disease occurs in children when the growth plate (which is the growing part of the heel) is injured. The foot is one of the first body parts to grow to full size.

This usually occurs in early puberty. During this time, bones often grow faster than muscles and tendons. As a result, muscles and tendons become tight.

The heel area is less flexible. During weight-bearing activity (activity performed while standing), the tight heel tendons may put too much pressure at the back of the heel (where the Achilles tendon attaches). This can injure the heel and cause Sever's disease.

Causes

Young athletes typically sustain the injury due to repeated stress caused by running and jumping. Partaking in any high speed sports can thus partly provoke the condition, such as football, rugby, basketball, hockey or track athletics.

Crucially the injury is linked to overuse, so exercising with fatigued leg muscles, without a suitable warm up, or beginning a new strenuous physical activity are all risk factors. Placing excessive weight or pressure on the heel can also cause the injury.

Another factor related to Severs disease is over-pronation, a biomechanical error that makes the foot roll too far inwards.

Treatment

The use of an ice pack after activity for 20mins is often useful for severs disease - this should be repeated 2 to 3 times a day. First, your child should cut down or stop any activity that causes heel pain.

If your child has a high arch, flat feet or bowed legs, the Podiatrist may recommend orthotics. Stretching exercises can also help.