Severs disease is a common cause of heel pain, particularly among the young and physically active. It usually develops just before puberty. Boys are slightly more prone to this condition than girls.
In its initial stages, most children displaying signs of Severs disease will tend to hobble or limp off the football field, soccer pitch, basketball court, or netball court. Kids will complain of sore heels near the end of activity.
The cause of the pain in Severs disease is believed to be the tractional forces applied to the growth plate of the heel bone, Achilles tendon and the plantar fascia.
This tractional force by the Achilles tendon and the plantar fascia on the growth plate is often aggravated by tight calf muscles and excessively pronated feet (i.e. feet that “roll in” too much).
The good news is that this heel pain among children is very simple to treat. The feet of children usually respond quickly to the treatment of Severs disease once it commences.
Treatment of Severs disease does NOT require surgery. This foot condition responds very well to conservative treatment within a matter of weeks.
Note, however, that you should not encourage them to exercise when the treatment is going on as this could cause further damage.
The podiatrist will initiate a diagnosis of the injury and the extent of the damage. From this, he or she will develop a management plan which may include rest or activity modification, soft tissue treatment such as massage and stretching, correction of biomechanics through heel raises or orthoses, and a series of specific strengthening exercises.