Health and Fitness

What is Severs Disease?

Severs disease is the common name for a condition known as calcaneal apophysitis. It really should not be called Severs “disease” as it is not a disease. It is a self limiting problem of the growth plate in the heel bone of children that always goes away on its own eventually with no long term complications. This is a very common condition in children around age 10 to 12 years and if you ask a group of children of that age if they have it or know someone who has had it, then most of them will probably say yes. There is a growth plate at the back of the heel bone where growth of that bone takes place at. The achilles tendon attaches to that growth plate, so its not difficult to see that a lot of force is placed on the growing area, especially if the child is overweight or active in sport. The condition is a strain of the growing area. The growing area merges with the rest of the heel bone by the early teenage years, so its not possible for it to be a problem beyond that.

Even though the condition is self-limiting and they will grow out of this, it is painful and can cause distress so does need to be managed. The best approach is to start with education about the condition and how to manage activity loads to keep it under control. It is common to use ice on it after sport to help settle the pain. Cushioned gel heel pads are often helpful and can make it more tolerable so they can continue with activity.  If there are biomechanical problems, then proper foot orthotics may be needed to correct that. The most important part of the management is just managing the loads. Children of the age want to be active and take part in sport, so this can be a challenge.

 

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