What Parents Need to Know About Sever’s Disease


Sever’s disease is an injury to the growth plate in the heel that occurs in children, usually in early puberty. 

The foot is one of the first body parts to grow to adult size. The growth rate of the bones can outstrip the rate of muscles and tendons as this happens, causing them to become tight as a result. During activities such as standing, walking, or running, in which the feet must support the weight of the body, tight heel tendons can put an uncomfortable amount of pressure on the back of the heel where the Achilles tendon attaches, causing Sever’s disease.

Sever’s disease is most commonly seen in physically active girls 8 to 10 years old and in similarly active boys ages 10-12. Podiatrists notice the condition particularly often in gymnasts and soccer players, but children who are involved in any running or jumping sport are thought to be at an increased risk. Because the back of the heel has typically finished growing by the time children are 15, Sever’s disease is rarely seen after that point.

If our child is active and in the high-risk age group, monitor him or her for heel pain, limping, tiptoeing, and difficulty running or jumping. Your child’s heel may hurt if you squeeze both sides toward the very back. This is called the squeeze test.

If you are concerned that your child has developed Sever’s disease, the first thing to do is to schedule a visit with the foot doctor. Your podiatrist is a specialist and is always the best choice to treat any health issue related to your family’s feet, ankles, or lower legs. If s/he confirms your suspicion of Sever’s disease, numerous non-surgical treatment options will be available, including medication for discomfort, physical therapy, and custom orthotics for support and cushion.

Dr. James M. McKee is a board-certified podiatrist with decades of experience treating patients of all ages. Click here or call Podiatry Group of Annapolis, P.A. at 410-224-4448 to schedule a convenient appointment in our office on Solomons Island road today. Dr. McKee will examine your child carefully and diagnose any issues accurately, then work with you to create an individualized and effective plan for treatment and appropriate follow-up care.