Sever’s Disease or Calcaneal Apophysitis

Sever’s disease—also called calcaneal apophysitis—is not actually a true disease, but rather an inflammatory condition affecting the growth plate in the heel bone (also called the calcaneus). Because the heel bone doesn’t finish developing until at least age 14, this condition is particularly common among children aged 8 to 14. In fact, it is the leading cause of heel pain in children. Sever’s disease is usually the result of overuse and stress, especially due to athletic activity. In particular, children and adolescents involved in sports like soccer, track, and basketball are vulnerable to this condition. Other possible causes of Sever’s disease include tightness in the Achilles tendon, obesity, and anatomical issues such as flat feet or high arches. Symptoms of Sever’s disease include pain in the back and bottom of the heel, especially when running, jumping, or participating in other sports or activities. The pain also may occur when the sides of the heel are squeezed. Those affected by Sever’s disease may limp or walk on the toes to reduce the pain. Treatment of this condition may include resting, using supportive devices such as orthotics, administering anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, and completing physical therapy to help heal the damaged tissue.