What is Sever’s Disease?

Sever’s disease is one of the common conditions we see among children. It is characterised by pain on the heel, typically worse during and after running and jumping sports.

It is referred to as a traction apophysitis, which basically means the apophyseal phate (aka the growth plate) is being pulled on excessively, becoming inflamed and sore.

How do you get Sever’s?

Sever’s can only happen while we are growing, as once we are fully matured, the growth plate becomes fused. It generally happens when we are going through a growth spurt. Hence, girls tend to get it between 10 and 13, while boys a little bit later, often 12-15.

Think of it as the growth of the bones outpacing the muscles. It is one type of pain we can think of as ‘growing pains’.

How can we prevent it?

The best strategy is to try and minimise the following risk factors:

  • Avoiding spikes in activity, particularly around growth spurts. The most susceptible children are those who do a very high volume of sports eg, soccer 5 days a week. Moving from playing no sport to suddenly multiple nights a week can often be quite challenging on the body.
  • Maintaining good flexibility, particularly through the calves.
  • Maintenance of lower limb control i.e. how do we position our hips, knees, and feet. Do we collapse and roll in?

For a currently active problem, treatment largely involves amending the above factors, which are likely driving the problem. Often this may mean a temporary reduction in activity to allow for rest. Adjuncts such as heel cups, taping, and footwear modification can assist with offloading the sensitive area. Soft tissue releases and massage can assist with flexibility.

Severs is a condition that needs to be monitored and managed. Eventually, symptoms will resolve on their own as the body slows down growth. But if the sport is to be continued throughout this process, it is essential the condition is treated and managed.

If you think this applies to you, please give us a call.