Children’s Foot Problems: Sever’s Disease


When children complain of foot pain, it’s usually not something you should ignore. The feet and ankles do not experience “growing pains” the way that other joints (like the knees) might. While they are not common, children’s foot problems usually indicate a serious issue that needs podiatric attention. One such issue we see children suffering from is Sever’s Disease.

Typically affecting adolescents who play sports, Sever’s Disease is characterized by inflammation in the growth plate in the back of the heel. Growing children, whose bones have not yet fully set, can feel pain from injury or repetitive stress to the heel. The longer it is left untreated, the harder it is to find relief for the child.

Also known as calcaneal apophysitis, Sever’s Disease is detectable by the following symptoms:

●       swelling and redness in the back of the heel

●       pain when you squeeze the sizes of the heel (“the squeeze test”, which our podiatrist would perform to help diagnose the problem)

●       pain when walking

●       stiffness of the heel after periods of rest

After one of our podiatrists diagnoses your child’s heel pain as Sever’s disease, one or more of the following treatments may be suggested:

●       Rest. At onset of symptoms, children should stop any activities that might be causing the problem. Activities, especially sports, that involve running, jumping, or repeating movements involving the heel and ankle would only worsen the problem if continued.

●       Physical therapy. Stretching and strengthening exercises for the heel, ankle, and calves can help to reduce the strain on the tendons and ligaments surrounding the heel’s aggravated growth plate.

●       Elevation and Ice. If inflammation does not resolve with rest, you may want to include elevating the foot and icing to reduce any swelling or pain.

●       In some cases, immobilization by cast or brace may be required to improve symptoms. Orthotics can also be used to help reduce strain on the heel bone.

Do you suspect that your athletic teenager might be suffering from Sever’s Disease or other foot problem? Make an appointment with our podiatrists at The Podiatry Group. Our foot doctors can perform a thorough assessment and recommend the perfect treatment at our Jonesboro, AR office.