What is Sever's Disease?

Sever’s Disease is a common cause of heel pain that occurs between the ages of 7 and 15 years.  As children grow, their bones get longer and this causes the muscles to get tighter.  When the calf muscles on the back of the leg get tighter, they pull on the heel through the Achilles tendon.  Bone is softer in young people, and the repetitive strong pull of the Achilles tendon can cause the bone to become inflamed, and in severe cases even pull some of the bone away.

How long does Sever's Disease last?

Sever’s Disease is a “self limiting” condition.  This means that Sever’s Disease will eventually go away in time as the child’s bones become firmer and the muscles grow to catch up with the bones.  However, this may take up to 2 years if left untreated, and symptoms may progressively get worse during this time.  A Physiotherapist can treat some of the factors causing the pain in Sever’s Disease and dramatically reduce the time to recovery.

How is Sever's Disease treated?

Physiotherapy treatment aims to address some of the factors contributing to the pain in Sever’s Disease.  Your Physiotherapist may use some of the following methods:

  • Massage of the calf muscles will reduce tension in these muscles and decrease the force of pull on the heel.
  • Ice is a very effective way to reduce inflammation.
  • Heel cups inserted into your shoes can help reduce achilles tension and therefore pressure on the heel.
  • Orthotics may be required in some cases if the biomechanics of the foot are contributing to the amount of tension at the heel.
  • Activity modifcation will allow the heel to rest, your Physiotherapist will advise you to modify your activities and sports.  Complete rest is not usually required, but you may have to reduce the amount of time you spend training and or playing.
  • Stretches will be prescribed by your Physiotherapist to improve the flexibility of your calf muscles and reduce the tension in the achilles tendon.