Sever’s Disease: Heel Pain in Children


Sever’s disease causes heel pain in children and adolescents. The site of the pain is where the achilles tendon attaches to the heel bone (calcaneus). The pain is caused by strong forces from the achilles tendon pulling on the growth plate of the heel bone, leading to inflammation. It is often seen in active children, but can also present in less active children.

Who does Sever’s Disease effect

Sever’s Disease effects boys and girls equally and most commonly occurs between the ages of 8-14 years old, with a peak incidence at 11 years old, although it can occur at any age up until skeletal maturity. Research into Sever’s Disease has not discovered any clear risk factors. Some common trends in presentation include; sudden increase in physical activity, recent growth spurts, poor footwear and restricted ankle movement.

What is Treatment and Management

There are several factors to address in the treatment and management of this condition. Ultimately Sever’s Disease is self limiting and will stop once the body has reached skeletal maturity. However skeletal maturity can be several years from initial presentation. Treating the lower limb muscles and joints can help with reducing muscle tension and improving joint range of motion. Ice pre and post exercise can help reduce inflammation. Stretching helps with muscle tension and joint range of motion. Heel raises can reduce pulling forces through the achilles tendon. Occasionally rest from activity is indicated for short periods of time.

What can Osteopathy do to help

Your osteopath can help with addressing muscle and joint restriction contributing to the condition, additionally they can provide an appropriate stretching program and advice on overall management of the condition.

It is rare that children will need to completely stop activity due to Sever’s Disease and there is minimal risk of long term damage as Sever’s Disease will stop once skeletal maturity has occurred.

If your children have been suffering from heel pain, the osteopaths at Blackburn Osteopathy can help.

Bret Murray

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