Severe’s disease AKA calcaneal apophysitis is a growing pain at the back of the heel in young adolescents between the ages of 8 to 14. The heel bone contains a growth plate where the Achilles tendon attaches. Sever’s disease can occur for various reasons such as:
The heel bones growth quicker than the ligaments that attach to it causing inflammation and pain
A tight heel cord
The undeveloped heel bone becomes stressed from repeated forces such as running and pounding on hard surfaces
Regardless of the etiology, children will often complain of pain at the back of their heel during sports, when they stand for too long or from shoes that rub at the back of their heels.
Diagnosis can be made based on the child’s symptoms and by performing a squeeze test. A positive squeeze test is defined as elicited pain when the child’s heel is squeezed from side to side.
Treatment for Severe’s disease is simple and mainly involves resting. It is advised that children take time off from sports and physical activity, stretch the leg muscles, ice the heel and take anti-inflammatory medications if needed to help reduce the swelling and alleviate pain. Gel inserts and orthotics may be recommended to support the heel. In severe cases a short leg cast may be applied to immobilize the foot and ankle and allow healing to occur.
If your child experiences symptoms of Sever’s disease come see our staff at Foot & Ankle Doctors, Inc.