Sever’s Disease FAQ

Why does my child’s heel hurt?

This is usually because of a condition called Sever’s Apophysitis, which is a fancy name for growing pains in the heel bone. During growth spurts, the tendons don’t grow quickly enough to keep up with the bones, causing some traction on the back of the heel. This can cause significant pain with activities and sports.

What are other symptoms of Sever’s disease?

Your child may experience heel pain in the back or bottom of the heel, limp or walk on their toes. They may also experience difficulty running, jumping or participating in usual activities or sports.

How can Sever’s disease be treated or prevented?

Heel cushions, temporary shoe inserts or custom orthotic devices offer support for the foot and may help ease the pain. Also, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, help reduce the pain and inflammation. Stretching or physical therapy can be used to promote healing of the inflamed issue. If these don’t help, the child may need to reduce or stop any activity that causes pain during their treatment. In severe cases immobilization of the affected extremity may be necessary.

When can my child return to activity?

With proper care, symptoms will usually resolve within a few weeks to a few months. The goals of treatment are to reduce tension of the tendons and to decrease inflammation that is causing the pain. The good news is that the condition will resolve completely once the growth plate at the back of the heel is completely fused.

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