Sever’s Disease and Your Child

With fall right around the corner and the start of school soccer, cross country and football season, we at Edmond Norman Foot & Ankle expect to be seeing more youth in our offices complaining of heel pain. Children ages 8-15 are at risk for a condition known as Sever’s Disease or calcaneal apophysitis. During these formative years, new bone growth is continually occurring at the growth plate in the heel, creating a weak spot at the back of the heel that can become inflamed with excess force and repetitive stress.

Pain that does not subside and actually gets worse as your child bears weight on the heel is the primary symptom of Sever’s Disease. Other signs that your child may have this disorder include swelling and tenderness in the heel, difficulty running or jumping, limping or walking on their toes and a lack of interest in activities they normally enjoy. Sever’s Disease can occur in one or both heels.

Treatment Options

If your child is experiencing heel pain, our board certified foot and ankle surgeon, Dr. A. Bil Buksh, will want to do a complete examination of the foot and also get a medical history and information about current sports and activities. Digital x-rays (which can be performed in our Edmond or Norman office) as well as other imaging studies and lab tests may be required to rule out several other serious conditions that could be affecting your child’s heel.

If the foot doctor does diagnose Sever’s Disease one or more of these treatments may be recommended:

  • Rest—activities that cause pain in the heel need to be put on hold
  • Medication and Icing—nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and icing the heel may decrease inflammation and pain
  • Immobilization—in severe cases using a cast to keep the foot completely immobile may be necessary for healing
  • Shoe Inserts—custom orthotics can cushion and support the heel
  • Physical Therapy—stretching, exercises and other therapies may help speed healing and reduce inflammation

As long as a child is still in the growing years, Sever’s Disease can recur. If your child’s heel begins to hurt again after treatment has been completed it’s important that you contact us for an appointment to have it checked as soon as possible.