Sever's disease explained

What is Sever’s disease?

Sever’s disease, or the proper termed calcaneal apophysitis, is the most common cause of heel pain in growing children, especially those who play sports or exercise regularly. Sever’s disease is not an actual disease, but rather a painful inflammation of the growth plate in the back of the heel.
Sever's disease Perth

Sever's disease symptoms


You might notice a change in your child’s walking/running going on their toes due to tenderness and pain in either one or both heels. Generally, it is worst at the back of the heel, but it is possible for the pain to go down the sides and bottom of the heel, or right around the arch of the foot. Sometimes, you child might be limping due to discomfort during and after running or physical activity. Some possible signs include swelling and redness around the heel and foot discomfort after activity.
Sever's disease Perth

Who is affected by Sever’s disease?

This condition only affects children and adolescents ranging from 7 to 15 years old. Boys are more at risk of developing the condition than girls. Children with a higher risk of Sever’s disease include those who:

  • Have had a recent large growth spurt.
  • Frequently run and jump, especially on hard surfaces.
  • Participate in high-impact sports, such as gymnastics, volleyball, and basketball.
  • Are overweight/obese.
  • Wear shoes that don’t support their feet or aren’t appropriate for their activities.

How long does Sever’s disease last?

As Sever’s disease is an injury/inflammation to the growth plate, it is usually self-limiting and will resolve once the growth plate fuses/closes to form mature adult bone. However, this does not occur until (on average) ages 13 in girls and 15 in boys, and in some cases up to the ages of 16 and 22, respectively.

Children with Sever’s disease recover completely with no long-term problems but it can be extremely limiting and painful for your child whilst growing.

Sever's disease treatment Perth

How can we help?

First and foremost, a thorough examination will confirm if your child has Sever’s disease. Although Sever’s disease isn’t normally something serious, it can be quite painful for your child.

At The Foot Clinic, we have treated hundreds of children with this condition. We have many treatments available such as FMT  or orthoses, and work together to create a personalised management plan because we recognised that every child is unique.

Generally, the most important step is to manage the pain level and take a stepwise approach to safely allow your child to exercise with as minimal symptoms as possible.

Our Podiatrists are looking forward to helping you